Andrew Cohen’s Apologies
I’m fifty-seven years old and currently find myself facing the biggest challenge of my life. I’ve been a teacher of spiritual enlightenment for twenty-seven years. Enlightenment has always been and always will be about transcending the ego. Over the last several years, some of my closest students have tried to make it apparent to me that in spite of the depth of my awakening, my ego is still alive and well.
I’ve understood this simple truth—that we all have egos no matter how enlightened we may be—and even taught it to thousands of people all over the world throughout my career. But when I was being asked to face my own ego by those who were nearest and dearest to me, I resisted. And I often made their lives difficult as a result.
I’m aware that many of my students over the years have also been affected by my lack of awareness of this part of myself. And for those of you who are reading this, I apologize. As time passes I intend to reach out and engage in a process of dialogue with those of you who would like to.
In light of all this, for the sake of my own integrity as a spiritual teacher and as a human being, I’ve decided that I need to take some time off so I can make the effort to develop in many of the ways that I’ve asked other people to. Starting this fall, once I’ve fulfilled some prior commitments, I’m going to embark upon a sabbatical for an extended period of time. During this hiatus, I will be stepping down from the leadership of my organization, I won’t be publishing anything here on my blog, and will not be doing any public teaching. My intention is to become a better teacher, and more importantly, a better man.
One of the most beautiful fruits of my work over the years has been the international network of people who have studied, collaborated, and trained with me for so long. They are all examples of Evolutionary Enlightenment in their own right, and I couldn’t imagine a greater community of people to carry forward this movement. I’m looking forward to working with them in a very different way in the future.
To learn more about this network, you can visit www.enlightennext.org.
An open letter to all my former students upon return from my sabbatical. | AndrewCohen.org
Posted on May 12, 2015
It has been almost 2 years since the structures of our shared Utopian experiment collapsed so violently and so completely. It’s also been almost that long that I have dropped out of sight. As most of you already know, I was asked to step down, which I reluctantly agreed to. Ever since that moment, I have wanted to find out what happened. I have understandably been desperate to find out why this has all occurred. Why did this terrible destruction have to happen?
To be honest, for a long time I have simply not been able to take in the unbearable truth that I somehow actually caused this collapse to occur. How could this be the case? I have dedicated the last 28 years of my life to the Spiritual upliftment of humanity, to the evolution of consciousness and culture. For so many years I thought of little else. So with all of this in place, how could I have caused this collapse to occur? As I have let this in, I have had to embrace both the truth and beauty of where we all went together and my own participation in the downfall that occurred two years ago.
During those years just the notion of higher development, the extraordinary possibility of emergence, would make my heart beat a little faster. It really WAS possible… and I could always feel the immanence of the miraculous always just around the corner. Over the years I took many risks so that great leaps forward could actually happen. I also whole-heartedly encouraged others, my students, to do the same. It was all so amazing because it was so tangible. My gift was my capacity to inspire others to believe that it was possible… and to be willing to take great risks so that miracles could really happen. As the years went by I gradually began to define the meaning of the spiritual life lived in earnest in our post modern era as the willingness to be someone who would care so passionately about what appeared to be humanity’s next step at the leading edge, that they would be willing to make any sacrifice and take any risk, so that that future could emerge here and now in the present between us, as our very own selves. And it actually happened. More than once. These perceived and intuited potentials did reveal themselves again and again and so many of my students saw and felt the power and potential of what we had all given so much for. It was so exciting and such a grand spiritual adventure the likes of which most people never experience or even imagine.
At the same time as all this was happening, slowly but surely cracks appeared in the shared fabric of our new world. Some people left. This had been happening from the very beginning when it all started back in 1986. The existential challenge of what we were trying to do together was simply enormous. In some cases the challenge was just too much and people also suffered, at times unnecessarily.
Over the previous 15 years I had become an evolutionary through and through. I had experienced a profound awakening to aprocess perspective and to be honest, have now understood that in that light, I had come to see my students as means to an end, hopefully a higher end, but not as ends in themselves. I gradually lost sight of people’s humanity, including my own, and only saw all of us as the living Self Aware consciousness that, in an evolutionary context, was going somewhere. And that was all that I believed was important or really mattered. I even stated this clearly and unequivocally at times when I was teaching. As I was losing touch with my own simple humanity and everyone else’s, I also was simultaneously not paying attention to the gradual growing of my spiritual ambition, of my spiritual ego. I believe that my intense longing for the evolution of consciousness in my students was real, but I have begun to see more and more clearly how over time my pride and my desire for fame and recognition slowly but surely began to blur and corrupt my vision. The worst part of it is that I was oblivious to the many different ways some of my students were being pushed too hard and at times too relentlessly to make breakthroughs and too often breaking down as a result. It’s hard even now for me to grasp how I could not see this happening right in front of my eyes. The very human, frail, fallible and vulnerable dimensions of myself that I was denying, I was simultaneously denying in those who had come to me for liberation. I was blind and ambitious and yet sincere in my spiritual aspirations as a teacher and as a thought leader. The left hand didn’t know what the right hand was doing much of the time…I became more and more a living paradox.
Most often when I would teach, I would experience the grace of my Guru, the gift of enlightened awareness, which would engulf my being in the most glorious way. The amazing part of it all is that in the midst of the growing problems I have been describing, I was simultaneously continuing to evolve and develop as a teacher and as a thinker. I was moving and was still often creative in finding ever-new ways to express the inexpressible. And I was still curious. Even after 28 years of being a guide and a guru and a public thinker, I was still reaching and stretching to understand more and more about Life, Reality and the meaning/purpose of it all. It was really because of this that I wrongly felt that I was ok and in good shape and on the right track. This fact of my still evolving and developing as a teacher made it that much easier for me to avoid and deny that slowly the world that I had given so much to give rise to over so many years, was beginning to crumble from the inside. My closest and most devoted senior students were beginning to see through my façade, could see that I was out of control, and see that I didn’t even know it. What made matters much worse is that I ignored the evidence; I ignored their respectful pleas for me to slow down and listen to them. For over six months during this period I literally couldn’t sleep, and night after night I convinced myself that I had no idea why this was the case. My self became more and more divided. I was still an inspired teacher and speaker, but I adamantly remained steadfastly and obstinately oblivious to the growing storm I was creating.
It was only a matter of time before the entire edifice came tumbling down and it has taken me the better part of these last 2 years to begin to come to terms with all that has happened and all that I have done. I realize that much harm has occurred, and that I am to blame. I justified my at times ruthless attacks on my students’ egos as being akin to the revered Tibetan Master Marpa’s ruthless treatment of his famous disciple Milarepa. And at times this indeed was the case. There were times when with individuals or groups of individuals my arrow of discriminating wisdom hit the bulls eye and magic happened…dramatic and meaningful Liberating Clarity and Love Beyond Description emerged…and new potentials and miraculous possibilities that had been previously unimaginable and unseen were collectively experienced. In those historic moments it all seemed worth it. But there were and have been too many moments where I simply have been wrong. Not only did my arrow miss the target but it caused unnecessary pain and suffering to too many people. For this I am deeply and terribly sorry. Too much suffering has resulted from my at times misguided efforts to create breakthroughs. I should have known better.
Slowly over time I have come to see the parts of myself that were broken, that I have been in such ferocious denial of. In that denial I became at times untrustworthy. I see that now. So many of you trusted me with your souls and I proved myself at certain pivotal moments unworthy of that trust. Again I am sorry.
What I feel dreadful about is that the very idealism that I inspired and released in so many of you, I have wounded in the worst way possible. It’s difficult to bear that this is the case, but it just is. I would do literally anything to turn back the clock…but I can’t.
I am committed to finding a way to honour all that was real and true that we stood for, for so many years. There is nothing else for me to do. There is nothing else I want to do.
I still believe in the fundamental principles that I taught and stood for all these years. I feel the Teaching is basically sound. Like someone said to me recently, the Teachings of Evolutionary Enlightenment are self-consistent. That is one of the reasons why so many of you stayed for so long. And that is why we spent so many hours learning how to look at reality through the extraordinary multidimensional lens that the Teachings provide. That being said, it has also become obvious that there have been important gaps in the Teachings from the very beginning. Even though I always said the Teachings were a work in progress, I certainly was not aware of the obvious and important holes that I had left in them. The most obvious and the most important has been the absence of Agape or Love as a FUNDAMENTAL principle that stands in contrast to and in support of the emphasis on Eros that I gave so much importance to over the last 10 to 15 years. Eros is the VERTICAL manifestation of the Absolute principle. Agape is the HORIZONTAL manifestation the Absolute principle. To say I neglected Agape is an understatement to be sure. Eros and Agape BOTH are essential ingredients of a truly Evolutionary Dharma. They BALANCE each other. They hold each other in a dynamic embrace of loving, creative and Integral tension. My over-emphasis on Eros with little respect for Agape created the circumstance where a collapse was inevitable. And that’s why it happened so fast…and for this I am to blame.
In order to open up to the deeply painful truth of my own central role in this great calamity, I have had to open my heart in ways I have denied to myself for most of my life. That’s what has made it possible for me to begin to truly let in the damage I have wrought and the harm I have caused to too many of you. I only wish I had been more awake to and in touch with my own flawed humanity from the very beginning. If I had been, so much of this would have never happened.
Over these 2 years I have struggled to awaken to my Shadow, to those unconscious forces and drives within us that will, as long as they remain hidden, continue to wreak havoc with our lives. This will remain the case even if in many other ways we are unusually conscious and aware, and as hard to believe as it may be, even if we may be lucky enough to have access to Enlightened awareness. I know this is hard to fathom, but it certainly has been true in my case, and has been true in many other cases where powerfully awakened Teachers have acted out in either destructive or self-destructive ways…or both. It’s been a significant part of the rocky legacy of eastern Enlightenment coming to the psychologically informed west. Ironically, I spent much of my early career speaking and writing about this very issue.
I often wonder how much of the outrageous evolutionary Fire could have awakened and been shared between us in the way that it was, without there being some kind of fall out, some measure of pain and suffering. And if that’s possible then how much would have been acceptable, and when would it all have become too much? At this point I really don’t know.
I do know that without the ultimate challenge this enormous calamity has given to me personally on a soul level, my own ego would never have backed down. It’s been extremely challenging on many levels to even begin to let in what has actually happened and why it has happened. And I know there is further to go.
I am beginning to become simply human after so many years of hiding out in transcendence. It’s like coming back to earth after almost a quarter of a century of flying above the clouds. As much as I spoke about the need to “embrace heaven and earth,” I was obviously still rejecting so much of what it means to be a fully human being.
In so many ways I thought I was awake when I was clearly not. In my rejection of Agape, I was also rejecting the feminine principle in myself and in others and most painfully in women as a whole. I am ashamed of how badly I blamed women for their evolutionary challenges. Instead of being truly encouraging, after some time I let my frustration with the enormity of the task at hand get the better of me. I blamed and condemned instead of encouraged and nurtured, which was after all, my job as mentor. Many people accuse me of hating women. This is not and has never been true. But I was in so many ways arrogant and insensitive and even cruel in my impatience at times. Uncovering deep (and outdated) developmental structures in our psyches takes time and long-term commitment. It takes a DEEP vision and LOVE of ourselves. Not blaming and condemning and ridiculing. I apologize to the women who were affected and am so very sorry for being so lacking in the real heart that was desperately needed. I failed many of you in the worst way and for this I really have no excuse. I became a caricature of the very behaviour and attitudes in men that I was so sure I had transcended. And the painful and ironic truth in all of this is that I did have a real passion and commitment for a very radical expression of women’s liberation. I had seen a truly miraculous potential and possibility. But, in the end, I proved to have neither the patience, nor the skill, nor the deep humility and care (agape) to create the conditions that would have made a stable breakthrough actually possible.
In the middle years of my teaching career, at times I came up with and tried many outrageous stunts in order to once again catalyze big breakthroughs. Also to be honest I was many times actually in a state of desperation because I cared so much, and was trying to get my students to care as much as I did about what was possible, the very promise we had all given our lives for.
But as well-meaning as many of these attempts were on my part, some were certainly just too much…too outrageous and simply lacking in compassion and a deep appreciation of what is actually involved in change at the deepest level. More often than not what is needed is simply more love and encouragement, not more shocks, challenges and confrontations with one’s own division. There were times of course where strong challenges are called for and many former students have reminded me of many ways in which I did help them to reach breakthroughs through harsh tactics…but there is no doubt this happened too often, and more often than not it caused more harm than good. I apologize for this. I should have known better…but I was misled by the conviction that without such big pushes, most people would simply compromise their own inherent potential to evolve and grow in the deepest and most profound way. I was a revolutionary, and publicly declared myself as such…and that’s why many of you came to me. But that can no longer be an excuse for my own insensitivity and at times ruthless attempts to force deep changes to occur. Again I deeply apologize to any of you who suffered unnecessarily because of this. Elizabeth Sahtouris’ famous statement that “no evolution occurs without stress” became a justification for those times when I inappropriately pushed people too hard to let go and face themselves.
Over these two years away, I have come to appreciate with growing regret that the hierarchies that I had used as a teaching tool gradually over time become ossified and rigid, becoming for some not too different to being held in a straight jacket or a prison. Originally this was intended to humble my students’ culturally conditioned narcissism and often exaggerated sense of self-importance. And for many years it actually did help a lot of people to learn how to become humble, to learn how to keep their egos in check, to learn how to put Spirit first. In our time this is no small feat. But instead of helping people to grow spiritually, over time the hierarchies ended up putting people in boxes, actually inhibiting the very growth they were intended to nurture. I know some of my students who made very deep commitments to our work together have suffered very much as a result and, for good reason, are angry about this. I am very sorry that this happened and in particular, apologize to those previously known as the Resolute Core Students. With all of my interest in Integral Philosophy, I should have known better and seen the obvious error that I was making.
Finally what has been hardest for me has been facing and coming to terms with the fact that I have let down so deeply and betrayed my former students whom I was closest to, those former senior students who had entrusted me with their lives and souls and who gave so much to make it possible for the promise of Evolutionary Enlightenment to come alive in the world. And largely because of their commitment, it actually DID. So much that is Good, True and Beautiful has come into being as a result of the precious commitment of those who dared to be leaders. I know they also have made mistakes and at times caused much suffering, some of which is yet to be atoned for, but it must be said that most really did give from the deepest parts of themselves and did have the courage to care more than most. I know that when push came to shove when I, their teacher, seemed not to have the resources to live my own teachings, it was experienced as the ultimate betrayal. I who had demanded so much was, when my turn came, seemingly unable or unwilling to do the very thing I had asked from them. I am so ashamed about this and my public apology was really meant for them.
Almost 2 years after my fall from grace and the collapse of EnlightenNext, I still care as much as I ever did about most of what I taught and a lot of what I stood for. I am committed to giving the rest of my life to trying to make good on it all. What that will mean, of course, remains to be seen. Through this process of coming to terms with all that has happened, so many important questions have understandably arisen. As I make progress in my inquiry, I will be writing more about it here.
I still love you all very much and hope from the bottom of my heart that you will find it in yourselves to believe that even Gurus with big egos can find the courage and humility to change. I know in ‘Embracing Heaven and Earth,’ I boldly stated that once Enlightenment has occurred, an individual gets frozen in their development – that from then on their evolution actually comes to a halt forever.
I am committing the rest of my life to proving myself wrong.
With Deep Love,
Submitted by Lonny Jarrett (not verified) on Tue, 05/12/2015 – 11:02pm
Beautifully stated Andrew. Thank you.
Submitted by Peggy Babcock (not verified) on Wed, 05/13/2015 – 1:57am
Andrew, I am more touched by this statement than I can possibly express. I’ve thought of you often in this “time away” and will always appreciate the depth and the truth of Evolutionary Enlightenment. Please know that I will always wish you well. Our collective task to evolve culture remains at the heart of my own ongoing practice.
Good to hear something from you , but….
Submitted by Robin (not verified) on Wed, 05/13/2015 – 3:33am
Andrew, This has been a very long time coming, and whereas it covers a lot of the territory that your students might like to hear from you about, it’s shockingly devoid of any fundamental questioning of what you were up to all those years. It’s riddled with basic assumptions about your own goodness and motives. There is no willingness being shown to genuinely question everything – the perfection of your teachings, your ‘enlightenment, your ‘achievements’, your ‘love’ for us even. The whole tone of your message exudes the paradigm that you created and lived. Nothing fundamentally good could ever result from the use of force in the absence of love. You are clinging to the idea that somehow it did – the old ’end justifies the means’ line beloved of too many ‘leaders’.The only force capable of inspiring love in people is love.
Submitted by nondoer (not verified) on Wed, 05/13/2015 – 9:18pm
Exactly..The last paragraph clearly reveals he thinks hes enlightened and thinks he is still a guru..
It takes a brave heart to
Submitted by Nishad (not verified) on Wed, 05/13/2015 – 4:11am
It takes a brave heart to write an open letter like this.
Submitted by nikoleta (not verified) on Wed, 05/13/2015 – 4:33am
good morning. thank you. i remember leaving my spiritual teacher 4 years ago telling him you have no heart. he d been claiming oh you see i love more than all of you do. i was asking myself why can t i FEEL his love? i blamed myself. but then one day i was crying and he yelled at me. you have no heart i told him. and left. for good. today i understand more but you know what? it s not about understanding AT ALL. it s about loving and may my love be felt and may we all be blessed with the ability to love and show our love. thank you. nikoleta
Submitted by Astra (not verified) on Wed, 05/13/2015 – 4:34am
It sounds like you could really gain much from the work of Hal and Sidra Stone, maybe starting with Hal’s book Embracing Heaven and Earth. And my own book Enlightenment Through Motherhood discusses these ideas in relation to the balancing of the masculine and feminine within us all. Wising you inner peace.
Proof of humanity
Submitted by Ian Wolstenholme (not verified) on Wed, 05/13/2015 – 4:54am
The value of your exploration cannot be lost, especially your willingness to reveal the many facets of andrew. ian w
You should talk to me
Submitted by Matt Tilley (not verified) on Wed, 05/13/2015 – 5:19am
Email me. I think I can help. Matthew.email@example.com
Thank you Andrew
Submitted by Amir Freimann (not verified) on Wed, 05/13/2015 – 5:41am
I’m touched, shaken and confused by your letter, but mostly happy about and appreciative of it. It’s complex, swings from side to side and contains contradictions — but for me it’s a clear reflection of what we’re all dealing with, not just you. Simplicity and consistency would have been achieved, at this point, only at the cost of serious flattening. This is just a first gut response, more will probably come. Love, Amir
Where is the Love?
Submitted by Silvia Pavani (not verified) on Wed, 05/13/2015 – 6:02am
Dear Andrew, I just read your open letter and I was left with a sad sense in myself. I was happy to hear from you and hoping for a sign that would meet with love the love I had and still have for you. But, unfortunately, I couldn’t find it or feel it. I keep having the same old experience of being ‘disposed’ of being ‘obsolete’ as I’m not fundamentally interested in evolutionary enlightenment. The fact is that this little childish Italian left everything known for YOU, because I loved you unbearably and because I could only be with the people who felt the same and had that much deeper perception of the mystery of life you had catalyzed in me. No small matter for someone who had lived with her parents until she was 28…. And I was with you for almost 20 years, only because of my love for you and for the memory of the infinite, peaceful happy being you made me discover I was. And there was something else, there was the promise of something important and infinitely human that we could achieve together. With us, with my friends. Evolutionary Enlightenment was not the reason, I couldn’t relate to it, to you and everyone else anymore. And relationship with others, you know, it’s everything for me. Your apology is apparently solely directed to these courageous people who shared your vision. No mention of the countless people, like myself, who sacrificed everything to be with you and to undergo a very demanding life for such a long period of time. How could I be considered not serious, useless and pathetic because I did not want or could move forward after having shown to you so much commitment and for such a long period of time? This horizontal Love you are talking about in your letter to my opinion is still missing. I would have liked to hear from you how did you spend these last two years, did you really attend the poor in India? What did you learn about this horizontal Love? After all these years I still feel that in your eyes someone like myself is still of not use to your ideas of what human beings really need next. And I really don’t need any apology, I would just like to hear some simple, human considerations out of your own experience. I don’t feel let down, I don’t care if your vehicle is not as pure as we all thought it was. Perhaps it’s not what matters these days. There is so much to give and to do in this very world and at this very level that every little drop of goodness counts. So what I know I learnt with you is very important and I will never reject it. With love, Silvia
Submitted by Sumadi Bambang … (not verified) on Wed, 05/13/2015 – 6:17am
Dear Andrew, Thank you for coming out. I have a few immediate responses. What comes to mind reading, is that much more of the structure, then you show to have thought of, was about you. It was also in place to protect you. The lack of love was there from the beginning. I was lacking a lot of love myself and was attracted to you because of your clear perspective. As I see it, people who lack love are deeply insecure because they are not rooted. When it all collapsed, many of us moved on from were we where graciously. The limiting structures have fallen and it spawned an explosion in creativity and development. As you have been setting the example many people continue to believe that they are gods gift to humanity. Many people are hurt and hurt badly. For many people their believe in development is smashed. Many people are really damaged irrevocably as it looks like. From what you are writing I do not get the impression that you allow the full emotional, psychological an spiritual disaster touch you. I do not believe it is up to you to judge your teaching yourself. My inkling, from my own experience is, that it might prove to be better to let it all fall out of your hands entirely and just see what happens next. The thing is, that believing that the Agape element is missing in your teaching only, does not make sense to me. The teaching is an integrated whole and changing or adding will completely change it. To me the always extreme challenge of no position, to all of us, can only be approached when one is rooted in the deepest Love. Love only will give us the courage to aspire no position. Love sumadi
Welcome Jesus! Welcome Budhha! Welcome Brother!
Submitted by Thomas Karma Do… (not verified) on Wed, 05/13/2015 – 9:56am
Dear Andrew, Thank you for your openness and for encouraging me to fully love me and my human nature. We’re not divided! Love and Freedom, Thomas Karma Dorje
Submitted by Sebastian Gronbach (not verified) on Wed, 05/13/2015 – 10:04am
For me it is such a blessing that you are in this world. We send you our prayers twice a day. We pray to God that he will take care of you.
Submitted by Jared Howe (not verified) on Wed, 05/13/2015 – 11:03am
Hi Andrew, Thank you for your post. I think it’s an important first step. I would like to call out one thing you wrote above: “I am committed to finding a way to honour all that was real and true that we stood for, for so many years. There is nothing else for me to do. There is nothing else I want to do.” In this passage (and in your post in general), you seem to be holding on to your role as visionary and guru, even after all that has happened. I would humbly encourage you to let go of this, all of it, and see what happens. After reading your letter, I still feel like you are shielding yourself from the enormity of the suffering you caused so many people, those people who gave up everything to follow you, and then left utterly devoid of everything, no money to their name, thrown out of your group with little more than the clothes on their back (with many people publicly condemned by you). So many people were shattered by this experience, and it has taken these people, whom you say you still love, many years to slowly rebuild their lives. I think the biggest way you can make a difference in the world with the rest of your time here is if you could simply contact your former students (and not just your senior students, but ALL of your students) and personally apologize and then just listen to what they have to say to you. It would most likely be a transformative experience for everyone: for each former student (to help finally heal past wounds) and for you (to really feel and understand what your effect on them was). There are still many, many people in a lot of pain by what you did to them. I do wish you well and hope that you will be transformed in positive ways by this experience. But that means really doing the dirty work to clean up the mess you made. This work isn’t as glamorous as being a guru or being the face of evolution, but it’s probably the best expression of real compassion. Respectfully, Jared firstname.lastname@example.org
I agree with what Jared has
Submitted by Adam (not verified) on Wed, 05/13/2015 – 7:18pm
I agree with what Jared has said, 100%
Agree with Jared
Submitted by Kate (not verified) on Thu, 05/14/2015 – 9:51am
I also agree with what Jared has said, Profound & meaningful suggestion. Most real, authentic, human & truly loving (agape not eros) way to go. Meet & see people, each person, face to face. If they want to see you, that is. Good idea Jared! Most human & compassionate thing to do, for sure. Please , Andrew.
Could not agree more
Submitted by Marjan (not verified) on Fri, 05/15/2015 – 3:52pm
I wish you Andrew, to truly dive into the deep deep feelings of a broken heart, to get whole.
Submitted by James (not verified) on Wed, 05/13/2015 – 11:47am
“This notion of evolution is one of the most characteristic errors of modern thought….It is the belief that more can come out of less, that better can be produced by worse. Evolution in the strict meaning of the word, is only an unfolding, a passing from what is implicit to that which is explicit, from what is not manifest to that which is manifest. It produces nothing. It never produces, let alone creates. We cannot rely on it in our search for salvation or liberation. Liberation is not a problem of evolution, for no evolution can lead to liberation, which is the result of discernment only…. We are not concerned with evolving, but we should endlessly put the question ‘who am I?’ to ourselves.” ~ Jean Klein
Submitted by Bonnie Kelley (not verified) on Wed, 05/13/2015 – 12:31pm
One of my greatest guiding principles in life has been to continuously contemplate the ultimately “Loving” out-cry of Jesus saying, “Forgive them for they know Not what they do…in the midst of being crucified. This is infinitely unfolding Love Expressed for all of us to chew on and integrate as a minute to minute Practice… Thank you for breaking open your heart to begin to feel the Ongoing enormity of surrendering to the less glorified and more meek aspects of the divine, gentle, selfless — Agape type of Love which is really the true substrate of being an endowed and embodied, new species of human. Bless your process Andrew.
Submitted by Marjan (not verified) on Fri, 05/15/2015 – 3:55pm
Thanks for these words
Let go of everything, please
Submitted by Ali Mac (not verified) on Wed, 05/13/2015 – 12:54pm
Dear Andrew, I have read your long letter which mainly seems to be about you and what you have worked out in your mind. However, my gut response is that it seems that you have no intention, or maybe you just do not have the ability in this lifetime, to really let go of EVERYTHING – let everything fall away and collapse, and know NOTHING – then and only then could a real spark of humility could start to emerge. You don’t have to prove anything – after all anything that is real cannot be destroyed, we don’t have to hold onto it.
Embracing Heaven and Earth
Submitted by Bubba Free Jane (not verified) on Wed, 05/13/2015 – 1:22pm
From my perspective Embracing Heaven and Earth was the last good book you wrote. You made a crucial error on july 30 2001, you said that individual transformation supports collective evolution, the divine comedy is that its the other way around. If you had just put your ego at check at that moment… i saw a video of you when you announced EE, and you looked so pompous and arrogant. There is a video of you on youtube in 1999, where you were so beautiful, you need to go back to that Andrew and give birth to a new teaching, Im sorry to say this but nothing happened on july 30th, you wore your hat on the wrong way, and the last and simplesest step of them all you missed. You started celebrating a second to early and you missed the mark. Evolutionary Enlightenment is a sin. You have to go back to 1999 Andrew and do battle with all the egos that come to you to give birth to the right teaching. Im sorry Andrew, but there no way out of this one. Your spiritual son, Bubba Free Jane
It is good to see you back.
Submitted by Shikha (not verified) on Wed, 05/13/2015 – 2:28pm
It is good to see you back.
All of Us Choose Our Experience, No Exceptions
Submitted by Kriste (not verified) on Wed, 05/13/2015 – 2:40pm
We are all on a chosen journey, and each of us are fully responsible for our own participation and interpretation. This includes blindly following a guru or pushing oneself to destructive limits. As you will see with responses to your letter, divergent opinions about what transpired and what you should or should not do now will only reflect the writer’s own state of being, not yours or others who choose to simply move on, not needing anything from you. Actually, it’s not your job to fix anyone now, as it never was, and those who feel betrayed or hurt by your behavior can choose Love themselves, and not place conditions on how and when they will open to their personal potential. You can draw this out for months or years, playing with co-creators that are addicted to believing they are powerless and want to continue blaming something outside of them for their issues, waiting for you to work your shadow to fix or crucify yourself to their satisfaction which of course will never happen. You, them, us… we can all chalk this up to a learning experience, lovingly release it to Source to become true Wisdom, now or later. I personally like the now choice– and it is a choice. When we accept complete responsibility for our own life experience, no matter what, that is liberation. That is when the resistance ends and the potential that we never knew existed begins to flow in. Yes, explore what is means to be here as an incarnate expression of Divine Love. And, Love does not judge, hold grudges, blame, suffer, or need forgiveness in any way since it never condemns in the first place– whether Self or others. Love has no requirements of how long or deeply anyone suffers or works to earn it. Love is, always has and will be, Unconditional, ever-present and available to all who simply welcome it every day, every moment. Anything else is not Love… no exceptions.
We can only change ourselves
Submitted by Cynthia (not verified) on Thu, 05/14/2015 – 7:08am
Kriste, thank you for your comment, it was beautifully expressed and it reflects my feelings perfectly. Its so easy to make our freedom or our ‘healing’ conditional on others responses. Blaming others is what keeps us all bound, taking full responsibility for our own part in any situation is what liberates us. Our healing or freedom is not dependent on the development of anyone else, our freedom is always in our own hands. Love takes many forms and words acknowledging the steps others have taken to free themselves are an expression of Love. Words of encouragement to go further are beautiful but using the same words from a place of blame is not Love and never will be. Its just anger and resentment. So Andrew, I support you fully in your continuing process, in the letter you wrote,and in your courage to post it publicly. I thank you for all that you have given me and I don’t blame you for anything. just the opposite. All that has ever happened to me in my life has brought me to this present moment that consists only of Love and that includes the 20 years that I was your student. Recently I did a very long silent solitary retreat and it became clear to me that everything we experience in our lives is God trying to wake us up to Love, Truth and Unity – this includes everything from beautiful nature to emotional and physical suffering. There are no victims and that is a difficult one to accept but I know it to be true and facing this and taking responsibility for our actions is where our liberation lies. I wish you all the best on your continued journey and I look forward to see where you go and what you do. Very much Love to you! Cynthia
Submitted by Tim Mansfield (not verified) on Thu, 05/14/2015 – 2:04pm
Cynthia, very very beautifully said and obviously lovely to read. XX Tim
Beautifully written. We are
Submitted by Anna Kelly (not verified) on Thu, 05/14/2015 – 11:40am
Beautifully written. We are each responsible for our own experiences.
Let go of the narrative
Submitted by Peter Mitchell (not verified) on Wed, 05/13/2015 – 3:08pm
Dear Andrew Please put down the story and let the immensity of everything that actually happened really hit you in your heart and break it! And then don’t try and pick up the pieces of ‘you’ because what will be left will be a raw heart that can show true compassion and express real humility and maybe there you will find an honest response that will start to deal with the huge and painful mess we all became entangled in. With Love, Peter email@example.com
Submitted by Matthew (not verified) on Wed, 05/13/2015 – 3:27pm
True gurus never refer to themselves as gurus. True teachers do not call the teachings their own. This letter seems mainly an attempt to rewrite your legacy and reveals your own continuing struggle with your identity. Through enlightened masters, a selfless love carries the message. Look back at your letter and honestly examine what your intentions were in writing it. Allow your students to provide you with the analysis, rather than grasping for control of the narrative. Be a nobody. The teaching doesn’t need your face attached to it. Gratitude will flow back to you naturally. No need to grasp for it.
Wilber’s Next on Deck, posted yesterday as well
Submitted by Mark DuBois (not verified) on Wed, 05/13/2015 – 3:44pm
“I often wonder how much of the outrageous evolutionary Fire could have awakened and been shared between us in the way that it was, without there being some kind of fall out, some measure of pain and suffering. And if that’s possible then how much would have been acceptable, and when would it all have become too much? At this point I really don’t know.” https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=10153170908185743&id=52048310742
Love Needs Nothing
Submitted by Adonna (not verified) on Wed, 05/13/2015 – 3:45pm
Thank you for your heartfelt words. The desire for change, transformation, or evolution is a particular human longing. I have often longed for change, for things to be different, for me and others to be different. But this I discovered was a great trap. If we did individually and collectively evolve, what would do we imagine we will get? I return to Ramana’s words…what you are searching for, you already are. Nothing wrong with making changes, life and life forms are constantly changing, but finally who am I ? What is here? Pure, silent awareness is always here, unchanging and free. Free of any evolutionary or revolutionary idea I dream up in my mind. The longing for change is ultimately a longing for control. And control, well, that is the great big joke being played. What is always here, needs nothing from me. But as Ramana demonstrates in his life and words, I can give my full attention, my life to the pure presence that holds us all. Unconditional. Never moving. Ramana’s simple advice… “be still. ” Instead of working to change everything, let try to find an end to the love that is already alive in our hearts.
Submitted by Myriam Laureano (not verified) on Wed, 05/13/2015 – 3:52pm
Your journey is our journey. I love you and knew you would trancend and include the Ego because you are a teacher like Jesus who had to die on the cross . F or me you stood the test of you commitment in spite of the shad..we can all learn from this. As a recovering addict and a healer i learned the hard way…so i identify with you.I love you for your strengh in showing up again..welcome back.
Andrew’s journey continued …
Submitted by Tim Mansfield (not verified) on Wed, 05/13/2015 – 5:15pm
Dear Myriam, Thank you for your response, I feel you are in tune with what this is really all about, the scope, struggle and glory of actual spiritual pursuit and challenge. And also the healing power within that process. Most of all I feel I love you too, for your upfront love of Andrew. Tim M
Hi Myriam….you might want
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 05/13/2015 – 11:07pm
Hi Myriam….you might want at some point to ask Gail about her experience with Mr Cohen.
Hello Andrew …
Submitted by Rick Taylor (not verified) on Wed, 05/13/2015 – 4:28pm
Hello Andrew, After two years, it’s good to hear from you again. It’s been a while, but as you used to tell us under similar circumstances, “better late than never.” I appreciate you realize you grew to view your students as a “means to an end.” I admit, I fell for the impersonal view as well, and your assurance that the impersonal view was not cold and cut off, but the exact opposite. I’m glad to hear you’ve begun to see that impersonal view became an excuse for inhumanity. I especially appreciate you addressed your women students directly. Your behavior towards them was particularly horrific, and I’ve wondered for the past two years if you’d ever address it. You’re spot on when you say, “I became a caricature of the very behavior and attitudes in men that I was so sure I’d transcended.” On the other hand, I must take issue with you when you say, “I failed many of you in the worst way and for this I really have no excuse.” Abusing your students, having them do prostrations in ice water until they experienced hypothermia, doing everything in your power to destroy their sense of self worth is not “failing” them; it’s something infinitely worse. Your description here of what you did wrong is still far removed from what you actually did. The following line bothers me, and I think is representative of much else in your open letter: “The worst part of it is that I was oblivious to the many different ways some of my students were being pushed too hard and at times too relentlessly to make breakthroughs and too often breaking down as a result.” So I take it the second tenet is no longer operative? I just didn’t know is now a valid excuse? More than that, after two years you’re still pushing this story that what was fundamentally wrong was you just pushed too hard because you expected so much, you cared so much about evolution, and you were just oblivious to our limitations and needs. That’s not what was going on. As time went on, those bizarre exercises in humiliation had nothing to do with our spiritual evolution. No, Andrew, the problem wasn’t that you pushed us too hard or expected too much. The problem was you were vindictive, and you were vicious. And I don’t say that to be cruel. I say that, because until you can look into that without flinching, until you stop telling that story where you’re just another victim who made well intentioned honest mistakes, until you can stop going on about agape and eros and what was missing from your teaching as though it were some sort of technical mistake, I don’t see how you can look at those of us who you’ve burned in the eye. It’s been two years, Andrew. That should have been long enough. You actually seem most genuine to me when you say “. . .what has been hardest for me has been facing and coming to terms with the fact that I have let down so deeply and betrayed my former students whom I was closest to, those former senior students who had entrusted me with their lives and souls and who gave so much to make it possible for the promise of Evolutionary Enlightenment to come alive in the world.” As a teacher, you were obsessed with people betraying you, both your students and former teachers. So it’s significant, I think, you finally admit to betraying the senior students who confronted you. But I must tell you, it wasn’t just your former _senior_ students you betrayed. When I gave over a decade of my life to you, when I gave you my devotion, when I gave you my conscience, when I gave you more trust than I’ve ever given any other human being, I didn’t give those to you so you could feel good about yourself being a great enlightened teacher. I gave those to you because I believed in the vision you laid out, of humanity coming together in an objective perspective, collectively realizing a perspective that might actually answer the unbearable crises humanity is facing. I believed you when you told us that you had a vision of the solution that no one else could see, and to arrive there we had to trust you unconditionally. It’s true I didn’t have the courage or devotion to stick with you to the end, as your closest students did. But when I found out how, when your closest students came together in the very vision you’d exhorted us to fulfill and pleaded with you to listen, you let it all go to hell rather than give up your position as the unquestioned unquestionable guru, when I found that out, I cannot tell you the rage I felt. Andrew, do you recall how you lashed out at us for our betrayal of you, when we didn’t successfully navigate your bizarre mind games? Do you recall how you compared us to Judas, and to the great betrayers of history? Do you recall how you called what we were going through the “holocaust,” how you said you were speaking “literally,” and how you told us that in killing the birth of impersonal enlightenment what we were doing was morally equivalent to those who stood by and said nothing as millions of Jews were slaughtered? You even put up that quote by Ellie Wiesenthal in the sauna. Do you recall how you approved as we were directed to watch the parts of Schindler’s List of Nazis slaughtering Jews to get the message across? Do you recall how you stood over us and declared to us that if we didn’t face what we were doing in this life, we’d have to face it in the next? Do you recall how you were so repulsed by the sight of us, when I came into the manor house after hours to do work and you saw me and gave me a look, and after that made it clear I shouldn’t have been there for you to see? And after all that, when your turn came, you instantly let it all go to hell, rather than accept a situation where you were anything less than the unquestioned unquestionable guru. In the end you weren’t willing to give as much as the least of your students. In the end, you proved beyond a doubt that all of us who gave you our lives and our devotion were fools. Finally, while my words here have been strong, I’m glad you wrote something. To me it seems, the most important thing you can do is connect with some of the people you’ve actually burned. Of course that’s made more difficult, since so many of those people probably quite reasonably don’t want to talk with you. But I was surprised you didn’t reach out in this open letter, saying something along the lines of you’d be willing to talk with anyone who wished about the past, and here is how we could contact you. I sent you an e-mail over two weeks ago, and still haven’t received any . You’ve had two years to look into this on your own. Perhaps you could begin to take on some of the karma you’ve created? Sincerely, Rick Taylor
Thank you Rick
Submitted by Tabitha (not verified) on Thu, 05/14/2015 – 1:13am
Thank you Rick…for finding the energy to engage Andrew ‘exactly’ where he should be, feeling big love for you.
Submitted by Tabitha (not verified) on Thu, 05/14/2015 – 11:25am
Sorry Rick – I thought you were Rick A….still think what you said was awesome…but apologies for the over familiarity to someone I apparently have ‘not’ met!
After the fall
Submitted by Machteld Hauer (not verified) on Wed, 05/13/2015 – 4:34pm
Dear Andrew, What I remember from my first and last meeting with you in Amsterdam was this sentence; ‘start killing your ego’. A damn good sentence and a hard one to live, especially for those exposed to so much admiration and love as you were. I know from experience how damaging a guru can be and your lettre may offer some solace to those you failed or denied your darker human truth. Carry on killing your ego and never ever stop weeding, with love Machteld Hauer
Submitted by Louise (not verified) on Wed, 05/13/2015 – 5:03pm
However brave to open yourself up like this and acknowledge for what was, the question remains Do you love yourself, do you allow yourself the mistakes you made, as only you can do the work and integrate your shadow, We cannot be a guru and we cannot allow people to look upon us like that, they are their own teachers, if people hang on to us our task is to send them away and do their own work, by blaming you for the hardship they perceived you gave them they make the same mistake too, in the end they had a choice to walk away. Life is so simple, just be, be love and let life unfold itself, no teaching no dogma, just open your eyes and see for what it is. Too serious travel is a pitfall. just dance the dance of life and be happy for all what is given to you.
Submitted by Tara Grace (not verified) on Wed, 05/13/2015 – 6:23pm
Andrew Cohen, I Am Wondering What is Going On With Ken Wilber He Seems To Be Associating With More Then One Person Who Is Not Ready To Be Teaching… Andrew ..Just Be A Student… That is What you Need to Do.. There Are Many Awakened Individuals Out There Gangaji, Mooji Are Just Some Of The Many Forget Being A Teacher…And Just Be A Student.. In India Even After An Awakening You Are supposed to Sit Under Another Master For Twelve Years.. Do Not Feel Bad..There Are Only 77 True Masters On This Planet Tara Grace
Submitted by Al Farthing (not verified) on Wed, 05/13/2015 – 6:26pm
Andrew — I have known you only through your writings, and especially your wonderful dialogues with Ken Wilber in the Enlightenment Magazine which I miss a great deal. I felt very badly for you and your community when I read of what transpired. What you have written here I feel to be highly sincere, honest, and reflective. Let the past be the past — you and the rest of us belong to a species which thank God, is less than infallible! I look most forward to again reading your perceptive work, which I am sure will be tempered and warmed by the awareness that the quality of love must always be the touchstone of a life that is worth living, both individually and collectively. Bravo for your courageous and honest letter, and may we all remember that both love and truth are needed in all things human, both great and small. Al
ANDREW COHEN | HIS RECOVERY
Submitted by Every Man (not verified) on Sat, 05/23/2015 – 4:42pm
ANDREW COHEN SHOULD BE SUPPORTED TO GO MUCH FURTHER INTO HIS OWN HEALING AND DEEPLY EXPLORE THE SULFUROUS CAVES. HE NEEDS TO FORGET “EVERYONE ELSE” AND HOW REDUNDANTLY SORRY HE IS (=EGO BULLSHIT). SERIOUSLY, YOU MAY EVEN PASS THIS MESSAGE ONTO HIM. IT DOESN’T MATTER WHERE IT COMES FROM. SERVE AND KEEP THINGS REAL. “GO INTO ONESELF” IS MY MESSAGE TO ANDREW, AS IT IS FOR MYSELF, AND STFU. RELATE TO SELF FIRST FOR AT LEAST 24 MONTHS, AND SOBERLY WITNESS THE MYRIAD PRANKS OF HOPELESS IDIOT-EGO. COMPLETE YOUR DEGREE.
Submitted by Khin (not verified) on Wed, 05/13/2015 – 6:52pm
Dearest Andrew Thank you for writing this and starting off with opening your heart. Welcome back. It’s so good to hear what you are seeing and we are on a journey of lifetimes together. At least now we get your experience and insights too to fill out and discover the holes that you’re intuiting. I’m very glad to get your insights about your relationships with women students. Although painful, consciousness development is happening and did take seed in women which I’m grateful for. The consciousness developed actually helped me in these two years of upheaval as testament of the liberation of the teachings itself. My experience with you and Evolutionary enlightenment has shown me that the person is not frozen with Enlightenment. It would be wonderful to be on this journey to prove you wrong time and time again Welcome back. Love Khin
Submitted by Matthew K (not verified) on Wed, 05/13/2015 – 7:27pm
I remain hopeful that it is never too late for any of us to move forward, no matter what has happened. I believe that for you as I believe it for me.
A Rumi quote…
Submitted by Barbara Vasudha… (not verified) on Thu, 05/14/2015 – 12:42am
Thank you Matthew K. for what I understand and appreciate to be a very beautiful rendition of your own understanding of what Rumi is speaking of in, “Come, come again, whoever you are, come! Heathen, fire worshiper or idolatrous, come! Even if you broke your penitence a hundred times. Ours is the portal of hope, come as you are.” Although I sometimes express my thoughts and feelings in satirically minded cynical types of humor…what you are saying and what Rumi intimates is what truly lights my heart aglow and my conviction on fire. I love what you said..thank you and I’m sure , not just from myself.
Submitted by Joel P (not verified) on Wed, 05/13/2015 – 8:02pm
I don’t usually like to post things online about all this, but I feel I just had to say something here. . . First off, the overall message that this post conveys can more or less be summed up as follows: “I was so amazing, inspired, and committed to a project that was so unbelievable and historically significant that I didn’t pay enough attention to how hard it was for all of you to follow me. . . and I’m so sorry for that. Did I mention how amazing I am?” This overarching theme pervades pretty much every attempt at compassion and apology, but two examples were particularly offensive. Firstly, the way you characterize “the women,” as they came to be known in our community, is awful. There’s a fundamental assumption in your “apology” that women are inferior and face more difficult challenges than men (the same one you always had). Your greatest error, therefore, was not this outdated and inaccurate assumption, but the fact that you just weren’t patient enough with these “evolutionarily challenged” women. Really? Secondly, you really missed the point about hierarchy, particularly in relationship to the former “Resolute” students. After spending a paragraph speaking about how you didn’t appreciate these students or allow them to flourish under the rigid hierarchy you built and maintained, you basically undercut everyone in the next paragraph saying that the REAL crime as against your glorious SENIOR students who were the ones who were TRULY committed to your vision. That’s nuts. Do you see how this is just a reflection of the same attitude you’re attempting to apologize for? Aside from the details, the overall tone of this post is a lamentation for how it all fell down, without any real questioning of the thing itself. Every single attempt at reflection is prefaced by a long, long, long treatise on how great your vision was and how inspired you really were/are. I know you’re trying to help people “regain” some kind of confidence in what drew them to you, but I believe that you can’t begin to face into this situation without being willing to let go of this fundamental insistence that it was all amazing, legitimate, and fundamentally sound. I’m not saying that these things may not be true, but you have to be willing to face the fact that they weren’t as great or perfect or profound or significant as you thought in order to find out the authentic value of it all. Otherwise, you’re just protecting and positioning (from a position of profound superiority) in the way that we always did (in everything from our relationships with “the outside world” to our magazine articles). Do you understand me? I’m glad you put yourself out there like this, but in order to appeal to my heart (and probably a lot more like me), you’ve got to drop the act and just “be simply human” as you stated you are learning to do in the article.
Submitted by nondoer (not verified) on Thu, 05/14/2015 – 3:25am
Very well stated..I trust he takes this into consideration..and makes zero attempt to perpetuate anymore suffering in the guise of being a guru to anyone…
Papa-ji warned you.
Submitted by Loring Palmer (not verified) on Wed, 05/13/2015 – 9:06pm
Re. your well-crafted letter above: What would your guru, Punja-ji say? Why was there conflict with him soon after you began to teach? Why did he send Ganga-ji to the US to bring solace to those that you hurt? Why did your mother, Luna, warn us about you in her book, Mother of God? Why couldn’t I trust you? Why did I arrogantly disregard all the warnings? Where were you that you didn’t–or wouldn’t ‘smell the coffee’? But hey, it was a great party as well as a Dark Night of the Soul. You entered the domain of Kali, the fierce goddess, and your true face was revealed. But you were a step on my path and I don’t regret a minute of it. Your disciple Jeff Carriera (among others) has taken the baton and is flying with it like ISIS, to higher realms. Invoke the Great Mother, brother, to complete yourself and find the goddess. Welcome back. “It was great fun, but it was just one of those things.” With infinite love and gratitude, Lor
Go back to 1985
Submitted by Martin (not verified) on Wed, 05/13/2015 – 10:01pm
The 1985 Andrew was the best.
Submitted by Jody Radzik (not verified) on Wed, 05/13/2015 – 10:08pm
This ridiculous letter proves the depth of Cohen’s attachment to being the “guru.” Its transparency is only exceeded by the evidence it presents that Cohen’s “sabbatical” did absolutely nothing for him, as well as making the clearest case that he understands nothing about nonduality.
Acknowledgement and Appreciation
Submitted by Nick Brash from… (not verified) on Wed, 05/13/2015 – 10:09pm
Andrew – I know, not just from spending time with you early in your two year period, but also having just experienced my own Guru dramatically fall from grace and how he responded to the experience, just how difficult it is for someone in your position to not only apologise but really attempt to look at and share what you need to learn from the fall. People may quibble that you have not learnt enough, that your orientation is not sufficiently different from the past, etc, but I just want to acknowledge the enormity of the step you have taken – and if there are more steps, revealed by the feedback, then so be it – knowing you as I do, I’m sure you will take the feedback to heart (perhaps a blog could be a way of turning this into more of an interactive conversation, as I know you will you see this as an ongoing process and you will honour people’s feedback). I ask everyone to find it within their hearts to honour the step Andrew has taken as a positive step even if it is not as big a step as you would like, and by all means to encourage further steps as you see necessary. The traditional role of the guru in our society desperately needs attention – it would be devastating to kill off that role completely, but we all need to help find what is a meaningful and sustainable expression of the guru in these contemporary times. Let’s help Andrew help us work that out. Much love, Nick
Nick, thank you for your post
Submitted by Tim Mansfield (not verified) on Tue, 05/19/2015 – 1:35am
Nick, thank you for your post, beautifully and cleanly written. I like that you draw attention to the guru function and it’s value in civilisation. I hope your life goes well. Best wishes, TM
Submitted by Andy Anderson (not verified) on Wed, 05/13/2015 – 10:22pm
You really DO sound just like Mark Driscoll. That says it all
Submitted by andy a new student (not verified) on Wed, 05/13/2015 – 10:28pm
A true teacher aware of his limitations send strengths. Thank you involving us and teaching us what it means to rose above the perceived failures Waiting for more
Perpetrator – Victim dynamic
Submitted by Neelesh (not verified) on Wed, 05/13/2015 – 11:20pm
The perpetrator-victim dynamic depends and feeds on each other in a vicious loop. Anyone naive enough (even if unconsciously) to outsource his/her personal responsibility for awakening on a never ending basis to anyone else (Guru or otherwise), is, I think, setting oneself up for some disappointment or redundancy at best, and suffering at worst. Any teacher demanding that kind of allegiance is doing the same thing. Both are over-identified with their roles, and bear the consequences, sooner or later. That is part of the process.
One or two?
Submitted by Jeff B (not verified) on Wed, 05/13/2015 – 11:23pm
For a teacher of nonduality, you sure have managed to dual-ify everything. There’s you (the great teacher, inspired, enlightened), and there’s the mistakes made because you cared too much. There’s the teachings (perfect), and there’s the gaps in the teachings through which bad stuff happened. Well, yeah. It would be quite different to say “I am the misogynist. I am the violence. I am the destroyer of spiritual souls. I am pure ambition.” Can’t you see that the teachings and the results are one? You don’t have half a clue about the amount of damage you’ve actually done, yet you seem to have great clarity about the GOOD you’ve done. How can that be? Where did enlightened mind go? You are one person, not two; your arrows never missed the target. You created this, not your shadow. Here’s the missing agape: the goodwill awaiting you does not expire. It is not in a rush for you to come to terms. You’re not better than your students, nor deserving of less compassion. You were never objective or congruent, and your gifts aren’t what you thought they were. Reality is the exact opposite of your “Declaration of Integrity.” And none of that diminishes your humanity or the love people have for you. I hope we’ll be able to have a drink or three sometime, after you soften into this. Even though I moved on a long time ago, I spent twelve years with you, in hell and heaven, and I bear permanent scars. Wishing you well, Jeff B
Submitted by Steve O (not verified) on Thu, 05/14/2015 – 12:43am
This begs the question why you stayed somewhere you were not happy for 12 years. Were you imprisoned, or did you stay because it seemed a haven? What was it? This applies to many comments here, not singling you out! I am truly curious as this seems to be a recurring theme here.
Submitted by Jeff B (not verified) on Thu, 05/14/2015 – 1:19pm
A fair question. Short answer: philosophical alignment. Few soldiers actually enjoy the battlefield (just the crazy ones). But those who are fighting for something important (think WW2 liberators) do it regardless. Many of us stayed because we believed in the mission, even though we were suffering personally. Like it or not, agree or not, that’s a big part of what kept us there. // Also, “imprisoned” is not an unfair characterization. Andrew had his students (us) go on retrieval missions when someone left. This insanity is documented elsewhere.
Submitted by Nevets (not verified) on Thu, 05/14/2015 – 1:40am
*Letter is boring *Talking School only *Incorrect Dharma *Self Aggrandizement *Cohen is not a true Guru…he is a man of experience, but not a Guru…not an Adept…not a Siddha-Master *Letter is presumptuous *Did I mention it is boring…I mean really, really, really boring! *What does that letter have anything to do with Truth? * No such thing as ‘evolutionary’ Enlightenment. * Look to Adi Da Samraj, Ramana Maharshi, Swami Vivekananda, Shirdi Sai Baba, Upasani Baba, Swami Nityananda, Ramakrishna, or Rang Avadhoot if you want to find authentic spiritual realization free from this garbage Cohen is spewing forth! *And lastly, yes, let us have compassion for Cohen…he too is in the same boat we are all in…and Grace shall have Its way!
Andrew Cohen’s Apology
Submitted by Molly Brown (not verified) on Thu, 05/14/2015 – 1:42am
Hello Andrew, I was a student of yours from 1994 to 1999. I learned a lot from you directly and from living in your community of international students. I later learned that your group had all the trappings of a cult, with a lot of negativity. I was on the lower end of your hierarchy and witnessed and observed the results of some of your slashing and burning, so to speak. Fortunately I only spent five years in your group and was able to recreate a good life after I left. I think your apology was more of an attempt to rebrand yourself than anything else. Your apology does not seem sincere at all. If you had actually let in the magnitude of the damage you did to so many people, you would have written a very different letter. I am saddened by your letter. It does nothing positive. Molly Brown
I want you to ‘feel’ this
Submitted by Tabitha (not verified) on Thu, 05/14/2015 – 1:56am
I wrote this 6 days short of a year ago on a site many of your ex-students used to delve into our experience. “WE WOMEN WERE CHEATED. Before I write I want to make it clear, I don’t care what anyone here thinks of me, and I know some of the silent readers of these posts and rose lensed apologists for Andrew Cohen will seek to disregard what I’m saying through whatever personal view they had of me then and/or now. But you should know, I have grown up, I am not the young naive child I was back then. I am not asking for permission, or apologising for how my perspective offends or otherwise. I am writing what I write, because I think something unequivocal needs to be said about Andrew Cohen’s treatment of the women in his community, for the record and lest we forget amidst the soft focus of evoking the baby from the bathwater of the past. I am not a fundamentally angry person (any more anyway), except when I think about what Andrew Cohen did to us women. I use his full name, because using his christian name alone implies a historic relationship to someone I once called my teacher. He now only serves as an extremely important reminder of everything wrong in how men continue to treat women on this planet. What the world needed was a revolution that brought women in, that recognised and supported their enduring strength and love what ‘Woman’ can represent and is. This world is not a ‘just’ place, it is not an equal place because among other things, it does not represent one half of the population. One half of the population is still fundamentally subjugated, and until the polarities are balanced this world will be emptier for it. Every man who writes eloquently on this site about the Dharma (the spiritual path) – the subtlety of the in’s and outs of certain aspects of the teachings, you were part of an organisation that put me down. That put out MY FIRE for a long time. That denied me, your wives, your girlfriends, your friends basic equality. We trusted YOU. We trusted you. However anyone wants or likes to dress it up on this site what ‘we did’ in that community was no better than what is going on out there in the world. In the context of what we were apparently aiming for – it was worse – and the route taken for implementation unforgivable. Why? Well because we were supposed to be spending every waking and conscious hour creating and being this new world. Women’s suppression and male superiority was the best we could come up with, and this was in spite of the profound spiritual experience/revelations and breakthroughs. Fuck that shit people. Seriously fuck it. There is nothing redeemable about ‘conscious misogeny’. There’s no cloak that for me can now disguise it’s foul stench. It doesn’t matter how well or eloquently you discuss dharma, we don’t say that the holocaust was a terrible thing – but you can’t deny the trains ran efficiently, as if that fact can be taken out of context and for celebration while still calling ourselves human beings. But this is what we are in danger of doing. We squeezed out the one thing that could have allowed us to include everything and everyone – Love, the softness of love, the care of love, the inclusiveness of love, the passion of love, the fire of love, the decency of love, the humanity of love. This should leave the ‘experiment’ and everything that came out of it rotting in the sun, but we keep picking it up with a kind of perverse fascination. My abiding lesson from all this, call a spade a spade. If we don’t – who will, if we don’t fight and get dirty for what’s right – who will? I unapologetically stoke this fire.” This is who I am at my core Andrew Cohen…..not some small pet needing ‘encouragement and nurturing’ …you think you know women, and what we are capable of….but you don’t know the first thing about our strength, endurance and potential. I am not going to tell you what you should or should not be doing, as that never worked for me being in your community, but from what you have written, you are way off the mark in really getting it in relation to what you did to the women.
Reply to Tabitha
Submitted by Khin Tye (not verified) on Sat, 05/16/2015 – 12:01pm
I can feel your fire of independence in your words. I agree that patriachial structures – ‘men superior, women inferior’ cannot be the only reason and would welcome the chance to find out more in enquiry with encouragement and without patronization . However, I do not feel that mysogyny drove Andrew or the community of students. We were spiritually inspired and motivated to want to change the cultural and societal structures, but were blind/ignorant/arrogant in the fire of inspiration that such structures existed too within the community. If it were misogyny I would have been the first out of the door; easy to detect as this is gross and obvious and I’m culturally sensitised on this score.
Submitted by J W (not verified) on Thu, 05/14/2015 – 4:29am
I was not one of your students Andrew but I was with a deeply loved teacher who many followers felt to be abusive. He never apologised and I don’t believe he ever needed to. It was never about him, it was about me and my reaction to him. I feel it is deeply honourable and courageous to write as you have written. I also feel it is incumbent on those you ‘harmed’ to take similar responsibility for their ‘hurt feelings’. Who said the spiritual path was anything other than straight and narrow? It’s not for the tender-hearted. ‘Abandon hope all ye who enter here.’ Most prefer to crucify their teacher rather than recognise their own crucifixion. Now put down the whip you beat yourself with and use the gifts you have to extend this message which is not your’s alone. I for one, welcome your contribution to the ‘Great Awakening’. You have a unique and priceless perspective. You fall down you get up again, you fall down, you get up again…….
Submitted by Kim S. (not verified) on Sat, 05/16/2015 – 1:33pm
I have also understood the need to take self responsibility in relationship to one who is pointing out a truth that hurts. Andrew is human after all… a man from New York City… who has a tremendous amount of awareness that he transmits. Thank you for writing about this.
Submitted by Jochen Hansen (not verified) on Fri, 05/22/2015 – 3:46pm
Thank you, JW. I love your response!
From Hatred to Love of Others
Submitted by Carl Geren (not verified) on Thu, 05/14/2015 – 4:30am
It’s only from the revelation of hatred that one comes to true love of others. To be Human means to have a soul, and I can’t say I have a soul unless I have attained it. there is only One Soul. It is like a huge puzzle, we are the individual pieces, and the only way to build the puzzle is to CORRECTLY connect all the pieces back together as we once were. STUDY AUTHENTIC KABBALAH ALREADY!!! www.kab.tv Desire is the basis for all things in the world, and determines absolutely everything. Your objective is to adhere to the Creator. If you have the desire to do so, you’ll begin to escape the slavery of self-love and you’ll immediately feel changes in your environment. There will no longer be a need to hold conferences on ecology, or Greenpeace rallies, worry about endangered species, and so on. Humankind will understand that the buck stops with us. We must rise above the ego and begin the journey to the Creator. Semion Vinokur There is the evolution of Desires. From Inanimate, to vegetative, to animate, to Human. It is written “We are as Beasts” ALL we do is only for self gratification period.! We must build and attain our One Soul. Meditation is not a means to this goal, it only relaxes and puts me in the inanimate state of being, like a rock, and for sure many psychological phenomenon occur in that state. There is only corporeal pleasures found in this state. Spiritual attainment (Unconditional love of others)begins to occur if I have a desire to reassemble my Soul, the Human in me. Oh and by the way this can only be done while having NO thought for yourself! Happy evolving!!
Wholing and Healing
Submitted by Richard Olivier (not verified) on Thu, 05/14/2015 – 4:39am
Dear Andrew, thank you for your words, your apologies and your new humility – it is heartening to see those who ‘know they are right’ admit when they are not. I wish you all the best on your new quest and leave you with a few words from the end of the Parsival story that Linus, Chris and I played with for a graceful weekend at The Window a few years ago: “And if there was a war in heaven once, then we who are neither wholly good nor wholly bad, we who consist both of shadow and of light, we sad, wounded creatures standing between earth and heaven, striving to be whole – can, if we are truly human, choose to be among the healers too. ”
Submitted by Jochen Hansen (not verified) on Fri, 05/22/2015 – 3:38pm
This is so beautiful, thank you so much Richard. These are, I think, really beautiful words so needed in this strange blog.
From Hatred to Love of Others
Submitted by Carl Geren (not verified) on Thu, 05/14/2015 – 5:08am
I forgot to mention; Adam HaRishon (in Hebrew meaning “similar to the Creator”) is this Human level, this One complete Soul. Once, and only when I become” similar” in qualities to the Creator do I understand and control this world with unconditional Love and Bestowal! Lets do it !ONLY TOGETHER!! The creative force of Nature or the Creator is pushing us towards this inevitable goal and we can choose our current path of suffering, OR Hasten the process together! this is called “my sons have defeated Me”. The ego, (me) is opposite the qualities of the Creator, but we have to use it in the right way and reveal it in its entirety to discover the Creator. you cant attain one thing without first attaining its opposite. Ok I’ll stop for now:) Much love!
Submitted by Nisha (not verified) on Thu, 05/14/2015 – 6:40am
Thank you Andrew. You describe what it is to find your humanity and this is what many of us who were participating in your endeavour are dealing with. To so many it is important to hear this from your mouth though. You were wrong in many ways and you probably still are. The different perspectives your former students are giving you back, in these comments and hopefully in your future conversations, can be of great value to both your further process and theirs. Deep consideration of and interest in what they tell you will give you the ability to kill your darlings, let go and land even more into humility, love and appreciation for life’s unfolding. I love this is happening and that you share it with us. I love you. Nisha
Submitted by Judy F. (not verified) on Thu, 05/14/2015 – 7:25am
Dear Andrew, I have read your letter a few times now and also the many responses you have gotten from former students; some of whom I know very well. There is a lot to respond to and a lot has already been responded to and I’m sure more will come. In reading your letter now, one paragraph that you write: “In order to open up to the deeply painful truth of my own central role in this great calamity, I have had to open my heart in ways I have denied to myself for most of my life. That’s what has made it possible for me to begin to truly let in the damage I have wrought and the harm I have caused to too many of you. I only wish I had been more awake to and in touch with my own flawed humanity from the very beginning. If I had been, so much of this would have never happened.” I believe that is true Andrew and is probably one of your more simple statements – devoid of philosophical, analytic overlay. And to be frank, it does seem like it’s just the beginning. I remember a line I think in Enlightenment is a Secret where you say – and this may not be totally correct, “That love is in the beginning, middle and end of the path.” It’s simple and not so complicated. It was love and an unbearable trust that brought us to you and why we stayed so long. And that love and trust revealed what was possible. When you write, “I was blind and ambitious and yet sincere in my spiritual aspirations as a teacher and as a thought leader. The left hand didn’t know what the right hand was doing much of the time…I became more and more a living paradox.” Well, the two can’t go together: You can’t be ambitious and blind and also sincere as a teacher and as a thought leader. It’s One as Jeff B. pointed out. The teacher, teaching, Andrew as a human being – one thing – not two. You can’t be both. You knew this once. I know you did. So what your letter has revealed…it is just a beginning and as I was talking with a friend the other day, this is your chance to really really listen to all the responses that are generously being given to you, take them in and then respond. That is really your salvation. With love, Judy
Just stop it
Submitted by Sarah V (not verified) on Thu, 05/14/2015 – 7:48am
It’s taken me awhile to pick my jaw up off the floor after reading your letter. Please do yourself and everyone a favor and just stop it with the guru delusion. If you really understood or cared how much pain and suffering you caused as a guru, you would drop it like a hot potato… and it looks like that isn’t happening, so what are we to conclude? Also, get far, far away from anyone who supports you in your apparent quest to continue to be a guru. They are not helping you, they are enabling you. A real apology is not laced with self praise, justification and comments about the “evolutionary challenges” of those you harmed. That is disingenuous and deeply insulting. I think I would find some corner of respect for you if you just came out and said “David Miscavige. Jim Jones. Warren Jeffs. I’m that guy.” At least it would reassure me that you are a little bit self aware. It’s dead simple. Just own what you did. The extreme power motive, the pathological narcissism, how much deep pleasure you got from intentionally hurting people and messing with their minds. All of it. Don’t worry about the 28 years of teaching. Worry about being a fraud and continuing to do harm in the present. Much love to you, Sarah
Submitted by Ellen (not verified) on Thu, 05/14/2015 – 10:41am
I couldn’t agree more
Submitted by Wotnoananda Swami (not verified) on Thu, 05/14/2015 – 12:31pm
Well said. The spirit of Lance Armstrong stalks the halls. An unrepentant and self-justifying sociopath. Just go away, Andrew.
Submitted by Narada (not verified) on Thu, 05/14/2015 – 7:57am
Progress, to be sure, but the Phoenix has crawled out of the fire before the transformation was complete. Singed wings is good, but all these self-justifying rationalizations are also rightly fuel for the fire. The fundamental egoic presumption of doership in time, a hopeful ideology to transcend that, and perceived progress confirming righteousness are common to every ego in every world (Lenin, Stalin, Hitler come to mind) and are still present here. A noble and true quest of “going somewhere” still seems substantial. The intense longing for other’s evolution still is believed to be “real”. Mounting the battlements and slaying the dragon as a revolutionary still seems noble (seeing all dragons as always already one’s self is the True slaying). He feels most intensely the students in his immediate circle, but has not yet come to feel how he slapped with disdain and ridicule numberless aspirants who approached him in innocence. How this denial and avoidance could have happened is still beyond his ‘grasp’ (developing a more subtle grasp seems like the only solution). “Glorious historic moments”… yep, also into the fire. They are just, only, and simply God, having no relation whatsoever to a particular ‘doer’ and his beliefs. It is not simply ironic that AC spent much of his career harping on these integrity issues. It was an unconscious attempt to bridge the knots in himself by objectifying it ‘as rules for a doer’, again a common ego strategy. He still justifies his robbing and bulldozing others as because ‘I cared so much’. Every ideological tyrant who ever lived has said that. “Well meaning attempts”…into the fire. What is needed is not ‘more love’ but the hereto unimagined Love that sees the student as Already Perfect…the Very Self…that glance is liberating, and cannot be given by a ‘doer’. People are not awakened by seeing their “potential”. They are awakened by seeing them prior to time. He knows that without this calamity his “ego would never have backed down” (a knowing shared to some degree with everyone who ever spent time with him), but does not know that it has still not fundamentally “backed down”. None of this is Enlightenment. It is all perpetuation of the me-presumption, a hope to reconfigure a metaphysic to comfortably carry on as a doer in unknowing recoil against Infinity. All worlds are hell worlds. Evolutionary Enlightenment is a world… a scheme of relatedness, whose sole purpose is to avoid Infinity Now, created as an adaption by a psyche, and attractive to similarly configured patterns of contraction and those willing to ‘assume the position’ to get the ‘good thing’. That many have been and are still attracted to it, is no confirmation of it’s validity. Most folks are content with a ‘higher’ world and willing to defend that to the death, thus no shortage of cults. In the absence of an authentic guru (which he never had; a jnani and a guru are quite different things), a worthy start would be to bow before the many he has dismissed as ‘goof balls’ and serve them as ‘the Living One’…feeling their brokenness without qualification until there is only This One. This is a purification that AC and thus Evolutionary Enlightenment in it’s haughty presumption has avoided. Indeed, this or any scheme would be consumed in the fire of such a surrender. Let in the world Now, feel it whole bodily to a degree that all your ‘knowing’ is swept away. Relinquish all strategies, time notions, and relatedness stories…be stripped naked by the reflection of your own recoil from Infinity…all the scourging dragons are only one’s own long-avoided thoughts which we vowed to never feel. The vow was made at the edge of infinity, thus the dragon seems impossibly huge…a destroyer of any world. “I”, in ignorance, runs from this fiery door. Jnanic awakening is a miniscule thing, a mere higher dream, in comparison to Full Bodied Enlightenment in which all bodies and ‘things’ have disappeared.
edited for humility (wishful thinking)
Submitted by S.A. (not verified) on Thu, 05/14/2015 – 9:28am
It has been almost 2 years since my utopian experiment collapsed so violently and so completely. It’s also been almost that long that I have dropped out of sight. To be honest, for a long time I have simply not been able to take in the unbearable truth that I somehow actually caused this collapse to occur. How could this be the case? As one who is out of touch with his own simple humanity and everyone else’s, I have never paid adequate attention to my own ambition and ego. My pride and my desire for fame and recognition has consistently corrupted my vision. It was only a matter of time before the entire edifice came tumbling down. I realize that much harm has occurred, and that I alone am to blame. Slowly over time I have begun to see the parts of myself that are broken, that I have been in such ferocious denial of. In that denial I have been untrustworthy. In order to open up to the deeply painful truth of my own central role in this great calamity, I have to open my heart in ways I have avoided for my entire life. That’s what will make it possible for me to begin to truly let in the damage I have wrought and the harm I have caused. I only wish I had been more awake to and in touch with my own flawed humanity from the very beginning. If I had been, none of this would ever have happened. I hope that I am beginning to become simply human after so many years of hiding out in transcendence. It’s like coming back to earth after a lifetime of flying above the clouds. As much as I spoke about the need to “embrace heaven and earth,” I am obviously still rejecting so much of what it means to be a fully human being. In so many ways I thought I was awake when clearly I am not.
edited for humility (wishful thinking)
Submitted by Tabitha (not verified) on Thu, 05/14/2015 – 10:08am
Now that would have been amazing!
Thanks for running Andrew’s
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 05/14/2015 – 11:48am
Thanks for running Andrew’s letter through the “humilitron”. I like this version much better. Nice job!
edited for humility (wishful thinking)
Submitted by Dave G (not verified) on Thu, 05/14/2015 – 5:06pm
Now that I got! To the point. Not cluttered with an intellectual and heartless justification on why it all went toxic, lacking any sincere humility. Andrew, your ‘experiment’ damaged a lot of peoples lives both practically and spiritually, we’re still getting over it, for me 15 years on. What you’ve said is welcome in that it’s an opening, but please let the whole guru thing go, it can’t be reclaimed in any way whatsoever. Be human, with us.
Edited for humility, amazing!
Submitted by Linda Carmichael (not verified) on Fri, 05/15/2015 – 4:35am
Wow! I so hope Andrew reads this. Please post the edit version of the letter. To see the two together would be doubly powerful and show in no uncertain times the insanity of the split mind. A lesson for us all, and one would hope a great help to Andrew on his long and painful journey.
Yes that would have been SO
Submitted by AF (not verified) on Fri, 05/15/2015 – 5:33pm
Yes that would have been SO much better. It seems to me that there are a few tantalising glimmers of humanity and humility. But all the painfully self-aggrandising rhetoric and pathetic excuses about caring too much and ‘the left hand not knowing what the right hand was doing’ – (come on Andrew)! – just drown them out and make any seeming-sincerity sound completely hollow.
Die before you die
Submitted by Ram Charan (not verified) on Thu, 05/14/2015 – 10:30am
Andrew, I appreciate your public self-repudiation, but as many point out it still seems like you are holding onto a Guru identity, albeit former Guru. As our Master Papaji taught, ANY identity whatsoever is false. I never was your student. In fact my entire introduction to you was in Papaji’s living room in 1990 and 1991 as a series of deeply hurt and troubled people, students of yours, came to him for solace. His remark was , “There is a special 8th realm of Hell created for Andrew.” We both know what a difficult character Papaji could be but did it not occur to you over the years that the obnoxious treatment he meted out to you was in service of taming your arrogance? That if you had continued to surrender to our Master, he was ready to truly pass his mantle on to you? Not you but who you would be when you truly let yourself die? Instead you became a demon for those who could not see you clearly and a laughing stock for those who could. Ajja said to me “In That state (Enlightenment) it is impossible to have a question. He (you) came here with so many questions.” Maybe you should be utterly and ruthlessly quiet now?
Submitted by Ellen (not verified) on Thu, 05/14/2015 – 10:35am
My God!!! You’re still thinking you have to do something to make up? that you are THE guru who means well? I can’t believe you don’t understand this is still your EGO speaking! If you really want to do good, withdraw yourself from each stage and clean toilets for the rest of your life.
A day late and a dollar short.
Submitted by Mary (not verified) on Thu, 05/14/2015 – 12:30pm
Your ‘apology’ is day late and a dollar short, from my point of view. Andrew. It is all about you, still. I hear no breathe of true remorse or conscience in any of it. Just one lame excuse after another. It won’t do–you caused real damage to many people. You betrayed trust and damaged souls. All your talk of Agape & Eros is empty rhetoric. I laughed when I read your ‘soulful’ comments about all of us women. You have no idea how much you devastation you caused. I hope you can begin to let some of the reality of what a mess you have created touch you in a real way.
Give it all up…
Submitted by Barbara Vasudha… (not verified) on Thu, 05/14/2015 – 12:34pm
Dear Andrew, I left you and the community pretty quietly nearly two years before the move to Fox Hollow and was spared the pain and anguish of what was to occur for many people in the light of your ever demanding insistence for “excellence” from… ‘everyone else’. I left because I had a ever increasing sense or foreboding that ‘things just didn’t jive, a lot of things without going into any detail, simply put, ‘felt’ yucky. Unlike some or even many, I did also not suffer the loss of any money and…I am most happy to say this…did also not loose my love for truth, my intrinsic joy of knowing or… my ability to trust. At least not to a devastating degree and although I have grown a little more cynical over the years and my ‘questioning feelers’ are often on high alert with any teacher or guru, I can still love. Thank goodness! I posted an earlier comment in response to someone named Matthew K. because of the beauty inherent of what reminded me of the Rumi quote… “Come, come again, whoever you are, come!…”. I meant it and still mean it yet I found myself sensing that something important was missing from my posting. It is this…read the quote and know the quote…it is for us all..always true. In my understanding, what lies between these lines and what is the critical tipping point in it from knowing to being is…complete and utter surrender. Without that it means nothing and, can’t happen. Neither can your ‘comeback’. Nobody’s can. In your case, I really think you need to seriously ‘give it all up’. Any money…pay it all back. Live super simple…nothing fancy, well..maybe some good coffee ‘n stuff!! You know what I mean. The same goes for John deRuiter, the guru I choose following you. As with you, I loved him dearly but…that damm ego keeps ‘screwing with everything’ and before I knew it, I had to leave there too. If you ‘good old boys’ come utterly clean with pristine sincerity, giving up all fame and fortune… I’ll come back. Peace and Love and best Wishes Barbara Vasudha
…give it all up…
Submitted by Barbara Vasudha… (not verified) on Thu, 05/14/2015 – 12:37pm
…I’ll come back because Andrew….I love you…the real you.
Submitted by Michael (not verified) on Thu, 05/14/2015 – 1:20pm
After readings this, I so much more appreciate the teachers I have, some of whom were students of you. You’ve taught more than you know about how not to be. the destruction you caused has opened up new doors. So I guess the appropriate response is “thank you”
Submitted by Cathy S (not verified) on Thu, 05/14/2015 – 1:21pm
Andrew, Your paragraph about the women is incredibly condescending and misogynistic. When you can see that for yourself – and trust me, it is not subtle – then progress will have been made. Until then, this is more of the same boring self-aggrandizing rhetoric. Nothing new or evolutionary here! Cathy
Your just an ordinary person
Submitted by Mark Williams (not verified) on Thu, 05/14/2015 – 1:47pm
Your just an ordinary person wake up! I also hope you have finally been open an honest to your family about your HOMOSEXUALITY.
Debility and Potential
Submitted by John P (not verified) on Thu, 05/14/2015 – 4:26pm
Thank you Andrew for sharing patterns of past and lingering personal appearances of debility, and patterns of potential – at the same time. Nothing you said means anything unless you walk the talk – 24/7 – essentially, honestly, nakedly, and live in and as the core-honesty of being swallowed whole by a love that goes beyond all conventional understanding. it’s primally pure loving – which can amazingly be lived fully by all of us. It’s clear you’ve not yet fully matured, and “cleaned-up” enough – yet – to be totally absorbed in intrinsic love, however there are now visible cracks in the armor of a remnant spiritualized ego where the light of love can be seen to be coming through. Aside from what other things were said, Papaji once said to me: “You must love the world absolutely.” This included loving myself absolutely, which also includes loving ourselves and the world relatively. Nothing is left out. Be it, live it, love it. It’s my responsibility to be love, and thus wake up, grow up, and clean-up – moment to moment forever. It’s what we’re here to be and do. Isn’t it? Unconditionally embracing love IS the source, course and fruition that never ends. A web of opportunity to love beyond ourselves, and include ourselves unfolds before us, all of us – indivisibly,eternally. To fall in love, unconditionally, is to discover our naked authenticity in the endless nature of love’s dance, love’s compassion and wisdom. Love and blessings to all of us on this amazing journey. Onward Andrew – in and as love. You’ll discover more and more Andrew – that it is the greatest evolutionary urge there is.
the comments are impressive, the letter not so much
Submitted by Martin Goldstein (not verified) on Thu, 05/14/2015 – 6:30pm
I think the most impressive thing here is not the letter, which is premature and rationalizes as many have already pointed out, but the fact that the comments are allowed to be posted without censorship. That’s something. That could lead to something good. Not to a new kingship though.
Submitted by Tara Grace (not verified) on Thu, 05/14/2015 – 7:22pm
Ironically Andrew Cohen, You Started Me on my Official Path To spirituality.. You Came To Toronto, Canada And Gave A Talk There. You Where The First spiritual Teacher I met..Other Than The Ones Around My Family… Thank God You Did Not Live Here Or You Might Have Been My First Teacher.. Because You Started Me On My Path You Get Points For That.. I Have Come far..Luckily With Real Teachers… Please Work Under A True Enlighened Master Like I Did And Only Be A Beginners Teacher An Introducer Of you Guru Stay A Student Andrew And You Will Be Fine… Lucky Me >…I Am Not Mad At You Tara Grace
Andrew: please take the wisdom from Ramana Maharshi…..
Submitted by Buzz Bussewitz (not verified) on Thu, 05/14/2015 – 8:20pm
….and just adopt a vow of Noble Silence for a really really looooong time. And then maybe take up a chalk board and not the internet. I was really struck by your over use of the “I” pronoun in this last dissertation, which I certainly didn’t need to take over 2 minutes to see through. I stuck with you for 11 days here in MA after you dropped down here. At that time it took me a lot longer to realize the difference between utter arrogance that you displayed and anything remotely resembling the humility of any genuine teacher of wisdom. You are not worth the time I’ve already wasted to respond to your ego-ridden gallimaufry. Much love, Buzz Bussewitz
The ends justifies the means?
Submitted by Jeremy (not verified) on Thu, 05/14/2015 – 9:39pm
Crazy the levels of delusion and justification, the ends justifies the means. Pushing spiritual phenomena, at the cost of real surrender and becoming, then using the phenomena to convince oneself they are the state of the effects they experience.
An outsider’s perspective
Submitted by Barbara Shanti (not verified) on Thu, 05/14/2015 – 11:36pm
I’ve never been involved with Andrew Cohen or his teachings. He never appealed as a teacher, and I’m very glad now after hearing about the “collapse” of his ’empire’ and reading his letter of apology 2 yrs ago. So now it’s 2 yrs later and we have another letter – an apology of sorts, but, as rightly sensed by others, there’s still far too much ego present when you read that at least his teachings were fabulous! To hope that he will be forgiven and that he can resume being a guru seems laughable, if he hasn’t done the more personal reparation including returning money to those he took it from, and accepting the role of being a ‘nobody’. But what do I know? I wasn’t hurt by this man. Maybe the lesson for all of us is to never trust a guru so completely that you can be hurt by him or her. I hope Andrew reads these letters from his former students.
Submitted by Simon Moore (not verified) on Fri, 05/15/2015 – 12:15am
Andrew I have to say that the first word that entered my mind after reading your letter was – ridiculous. However, clearly you must be pretty devastated and trying to make sense of it all. I am sure you are sincere, but your letter and your choice of the word “sabbatical” strongly suggests to me that nothing has really changed. I guess we feel cheated because we wanted the Messiah but it didn’t work out. And we have to take responsibility for that. Its not all your fault. We share it. Actually the thing that really irritates me and makes me nauseous (no, want to puke), is not your “open letter” but the welcome back Andrew, we love you comments posted in response. These comments are horrifying and tragic as they indicate (in my not so humble opinion) ongoing heart breaking delusion in the posters. Essentially Andrew, you believed yourself to be a Messiah. But as some people here are pointing out: You are not the Messiah. You are a very naughty boy ! I know that you have an ongoing experience of awakening and Oneness that you communicate powerfully. I was deeply affected by this in my time with you and benefited tremendously from being in your community. I escaped relatively unscathed because I had the good fortune of being able to measure you up against some spiritual greats that I learned of through your magazine. So, sincerely, thanks for that. And I believe the time I spent in your community and the ego kicking I got was a gift (that I earned). Even those much wiser than most of us were touched by you before realising there was a problem. A MASSIVE problem. I am thinking particularly of Lee Lozowick. Many people have spoken about how you fell into the common pitfall of co-opting the “enlightenment experience” into your own ego. Exactly. And I know that the experience of Oneness can give a kind of conviction like nothing else can. And it feels GOOD. So if you can communicate this to others, they will come running. But if even if the message is somehow correct it will be tainted and therefore no longer true if the messenger is still operating from a place of separation. And the the damage will be done. The normal worldly drama of control and competition and deception. My intuitive understanding of this is nebulous. With the truly enlightened ones there is a sense that they are connected and continuous with a mysterious whole. There is a sense of magic, of harmony, of nothing being forced or limited. I didn’t have a sense of this from you, no matter how much my mind was blown at times. That is how I know you are not the real deal. That, and all the egocentric manipulative abuses. And narcissism. But you are still a human being that deserves gentle consideration and you do seem to have been randomly blessed with a deep experience of the sacred. But hell, what do I know? Fuck, its a strange a world. Of our own creation. Simon Moore
Come Back to Earth
Submitted by Blake A (not verified) on Fri, 05/15/2015 – 12:38am
Andrew I don’t think you got the memo, you’re not enlightened. Come back to earth. Even if you were, you’re missing your humanity, which means Enlightenment doesn’t really mean much. Like others I’ll grant that some of what you’re saying is genuine and at least it is a step in the right direction. But you seem to care more about yourself than you do others. You’re still focused on holding on to your grand vision, yet appear to be unable or unwilling to differentiate your own self-obsession and ego from it. In short, I don’t think those who really were harmed care about all the philosophy and head stuff. There looking for your humanity. Something much more real. But I’m afraid until you let go of your self-importance, you’ll continue to get in your way, with your grandiosity and failed attempts to truly account for the impact you’re actions have had on others. Maybe there’s more to come, but honestly your long explanation was a lot of fluff. No one really cares about all your apologies, with a lot of defending yourself. If I heard you were doing counselling or heard how you were really open to hearing from former students and were taking action, I might think otherwise. Maybe just try and touch down on earth and as you say, be human for once. Let the facade go and just attone for the harm you have caused. That takes humility, which I’m hoping you still have. If you want to move culture forward, that’s truly the only way.
Submitted by Virginia Thomas (not verified) on Fri, 05/15/2015 – 1:05pm
Hello Andrew, Thank you for this public communication. I look forward to more of your insights about the ‘holes’ in the teachings and where we all went wrong. Does this whole happening point us to an individual and collective next step? Forgiveness of self and other seems to me to be one possibility. Love, Virginia
Submitted by Marjan (not verified) on Fri, 05/15/2015 – 4:44pm
Lot of learning by reading your post and all of the comments. All very human. Loving that, despite the pain. And believing in conscious evolution or not. The ripple it causes in each present moment feels very ( painfully ) human also.. I’m busy trying to take note just on how that is. and yes how much I would like to believe that reading this is making me a wiser person, is creating a more consciously evolved person out of me, I’m trying to train my ego, experiencing this as another ripple in the ocean of samsara. Where at the depth love is all that matters.
Submitted by Martina Vollbrecht (not verified) on Fri, 05/15/2015 – 4:55pm
Thank you for your courage!
Submitted by Shikha (not verified) on Fri, 05/15/2015 – 5:45pm
Hi, hi Andrew. Now that I am here, I have of course forgotten what I was going to say. I remember your kindness. Or maybe it was just indifference, but it definitely didn’t strike me as UNKIND. It is true, perhaps, to say that I knew you at all was a massive delusion. Maybe not massive. So, I was very sick when I started attending your talks and things like that, the things that I could afford to attend. Usually I would end up late as a result of some misadventure. Perhaps you do not remember me. I was dirty most of the time. Anyways. My mind-health was rapidly deteriorating at that time, spiraling, you could say, downward, and so it became difficult for me to really grasp what was being said, I could only really hear your tone, it was like I was listening to your heart speak nonsense. Very moving. Anyways, the point of all this is, it all felt very friendly, and, while I was highly delusional, paranoid, and hallucinating all the time- for example, I felt like I knew you- while this was all the case- I had a great love for you, like I would have for a dear friend. I will even say ‘have’, I have a great love for you, like I would a dear friend. I don’t know- is it the idea of you, whatever, it is all very philosophical. Anyways, now that I have recovered my health and have a much better life overall, I am not so desperate for believing someone understands me and sees through my apparent insanity- it still feels very friendly. I don’t know you, as a person, but the first time that I met you, I believe I asked you to write your name for me on a napkin, which you did without asking any questions, very sincerely, it seemed to me. Perhaps that is a small thing, not to be so read in to. I am trying to sound reasonable here, but it is very difficult to describe. I never wanted you to be my Teacher, I had other teachers. But I appreciated your enthusiasm and your clarity. So, welcome back. Perhaps one day soon, you will teach for a day on the East coast somewhere, and I will come to listen to you. I appreciate you very much, even if it is as a symbol for something that I lacked in my life. I don’t know, I am trying to express some type of love or resonance, but trying to sound reasonable and down-to-earth at the same time. So it is difficult.
To Apologise or to Change the World?
Submitted by Martin Gifford (not verified) on Sat, 05/16/2015 – 1:13am
Hi Andrew. That was a fairly okay try. We can’t expect too much from anyone in this ignorant world. Besides, apologies only produce a tiny amount of personal growth and a tiny opening of communication channels. Expecting more than that just wastes time and creates obsession. And how could anyone satisfy the multitude of dissatisfactions expressed here? Better to get to the universal core of the issue. So what desire is shared by all stakeholders? Ultimately, we all want happiness in its various forms. That begs the question: Why aren’t we happy already? Isn’t it ultimately because we were born into an ignorant world? After all, if we were born into a wise world, none of these stupid pains and problems would have happened. If that’s all true, then the solution would be to understand the world’s ignorance and then end it. Your view has been that egos, immorality, lack of togetherness, and lack of Evolutionary Enlightenment are the problems. That conclusion was an interpretation of your negative experiences and was based on faulty assumptions. Can you let that possibility in? Can you at least see the irony that those beliefs gave you ammunition for hurting others? That’s not to deny the positive experiences your beliefs produced. I’m just denying your interpretations of bad and good experiences – pre-Evolutionary Enlightenment and post-Evolutionary Enlightenment. Initially, the real problem is the lack of attunement to the baseline happiness of being, as Ramana and many others have said. But that’s only part of the story. As you say, the next part is that we still want to life this human life in the world. Then we find our behaviour is affected by others’ unhappiness and we see the unhappiness they cause for others. At this point you say egos are to blame, but really the problem is that people are seeking substitutes for the happiness of being, and so we are battling in an ignorant world. So we just need to get everyone to tune into that baseline happiness, and then we will all act from that place of goodwill. Then some aspects of Evolutionary Enlightenment can be pursued as optional extras rather than as supposed solutions to our predicament. Since you still seem to want a public life, my suggestion for improving all our relationships would be to travel around as an advaita facilitator since you seem to have a great talent for that. Your goal would be to get as many people as possible tuned into the baseline happiness of being and get them to spread it so that fleeting forms of happiness will become only optional extras rather than desperate necessities. Of course, some will think this is too abstract. In reality, until you get to this causative level, everything else you do will just waste time and leak energy. Don’t listen to critics (“dig deeper into yourself”) or supporters (“well done, now let’s get on with Evolutionary Enlightenment”). Those are status quo responses, and the status quo is bad for all.
Submitted by Spiritual Friend (not verified) on Sat, 05/16/2015 – 5:39am
Andrew I met you in 1990 in Kathmandu. I listened to you with interest and was dazzled by your self confidence, but couldn’t find any true teaching, love or openness to drink in. You wanted me to join your community but I chose not to. The main flavour you gave off was Narcissim. I could see you had some strong power but that it was filtered through your narcism and thus could only serve to hurt people. I remember you referring to the fact, even, then that many people couldn’t stand your heat and had left feeling burned and you took this as a sign that you were powerful and doing the right thing. I was horrified to hear this from you. I then quietly watched you over the years and could see the disaster coming. I watched some of your videos and they were all highly intellectualised talk with no love and humility in sight. Your clinging to the evolutionary word and conjuring up some grand destination that you were taking your students too, along with your put downs of less evolved spirituality in comparison to your Brave new world made me shudder. And all the while the word that sprung to mind was the word that would also often come out of your mouth: Narcissism. In your apology I find much to be encouraged by and I support you in your journey to true humility and love. It has only been two years and for this I understand that you have a long way to go and this is quite clearly demonstrated in your open letter. Many of the people posting here have correctly identified the fact that you still are clinging to a guru position of superior understanding. The question to ask yourself is: how wrong does it need to go before you let go of the whole of your teaching structure and ideas and start afresh? Your letter shows that you have not yet let go of this, and you need a lot more time to address this. Please understand that you need to go to the very root of what you think you know and the only way to do this is to let go of the erroneous edifice you have created in your mind. In your apology you also seem still to be teaching. This is clearly seen in your use of the word “our” when you attempt to make some universal point that, you think, we all need to be aware of. All the “our” words need to be converted to “my” and owned as such. This is not a place to demonstrate your superior understanding. The only way your apology could ever be a teaching is if it is devoid of any attempt to justify and excuse your actions and is truly humble and owned. I suggest that you take another 2 years and then have another attempt at the apology. I wish you the best in all of this and also the people who have been hurt can be healed. If you continue to teach then you will undoubtedly have many who will continue to come to you and even from your more humble perspective will still be doing them a disservice and will also be responsible for wasting their time in following a very very very flawed teaching that was flawed from the very outset. it cannot be repaired and needs to be ditched and you need to start again. If you teach you will also continue to hurt those that have been so badly hurt before and who will be angry, dismayed and disappointed by this. You mentioned Marpa and Milarepa. Milarepa murdered his family and sought his great teacher to put his life straight. Marpa wouldn’t give him any teachings for 12 years. Milarepa became a great saint. You are like Milarepa seeking to make amends, do not mistake yourself for Marpa. Please don’t teach.
Submitted by Chuck Hillig (not verified) on Sat, 05/16/2015 – 8:49am
Sooner or later, the hidden gets tired of hiding.
Submitted by Rick Taylor (not verified) on Sat, 05/16/2015 – 4:51pm
In your original apology two years ago, you said that you’d be willing to open up a dialogue with former students who wished to upon your return. I hope that is something you will follow up on. I would personally take advantage of such an opportunity if it were offered. —Rick Taylor
Parable of the Sower
Submitted by Karen (not verified) on Sat, 05/16/2015 – 7:56pm
Matthew 13 New International Version (NIV) The Parable of the Sower 13 That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. 2 Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. 3 Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. 9 Whoever has ears, let them hear.” 10 The disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?” 11 He replied, “Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. 12 Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. 13 This is why I speak to them in parables: “Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand. 14 In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: “‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. 15 For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’[a] 16 But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. 17 For truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.
Submitted by Tim Mansfield (not verified) on Sun, 05/17/2015 – 3:27am
Dearest Andrew, Thank you for your open letter and welcome back from Sabbatical. I feel the value of our collective work, over the last 25 years in my case, is obscured by a dust cloud kicked up by a venomous minority and it is time to clear some space for the more level-headed majority to speak. I note with interest the 1900 ‘Likes’ your letter has received, and yet the almost seamless chain of vitriolic posts. It reminds me of our recent situation here in UK with our general election, when a quiet majority existed beneath the radar of the polls, appearing only at the critical moment to surprisingly win the day. One suggested explanation is that the more temperate majority was bullied into silence by a flagrantly self-righteous minority. This accords with my experience of reading the responses to your letter: that an intimidating environment has been established by a minority who criticise you for not being a Teacher of unconditional love while themselves expressing a horribly savage carelessness. One response I had to your letter was the sense that at last there was the possibility of a forum to really discuss what happened, what caused the Crash. There are many, many different and interesting views out there, but so far we have not had the means to thrash-out the truth. There is no intelligent established understanding, only an almost universal collapse into a default assumption that it has to be your fault. There are other ways to see it that are more to do with meme shifts, functions having run their course, and meta level movements of spiritual tectonics, that would be a thousand times more interesting to get into. I see our greatest achievement together was our ability to collectively inquire into challenging territory. This is where our efforts bore fruit and when we shared our highest moments and how we really did and do hold a torch for humanity. I think observers over the years have seen this and marvelled at it. Consequently I so much value the few posts on your site from those outside our close matrix who express a good sense of the value of your work; their posts seem to me to carry an unbiased simplicity and gratitude and they survive miraculously amid volleys of dissident abuse. In short I am feeling that the potential of this forum is being crowded-out by a minority who already have their own courageous Facebook site, called Whatever Next? , pretty much dedicated to venting their grievances. A stone needs to be lifted on this clew of worms-that-have-turned: I note that the smaller the worm the sharper its turn, a point of general interest and education; as is the string of have-a-go-heroes who step into the limelight with their particular brand of closely argued tripe, to be cheered by the crowd for the size of their boot and the venom in their swing, and, egged-on by the odd foul-mouthed internet vagrant, they get to bathe in a glory they never knew when standards were higher. Every small dog his day, I suppose. History has not been erased, we still remember each other, we have reputations, some voices still count for more than others, even the ego-freedom-anything-goes standards of the last two years have not erased our learning. A watchful eye still exists. Happily at home in myself for the last two years, I have only gratitude towards you, Andrew, for doing your job. The spiritual updraft you generated and we share in, is a phenomenon in abeyance. My home-coming is nothing compared to what we can do together. So I thank you for your work, for your open letter and for the opportunity this forum presents to go forward together.
Much as I love you, Tim, I
Submitted by Steve Jackson (not verified) on Mon, 05/18/2015 – 5:19pm
Much as I love you, Tim, I have to say I think you’re making a big mistake in seeing, as you seem to, that those who are prepared to question Andrew’s response as all belonging to some hateful, vindictive minority. To be honest, I’m baffled by all the ‘likes’ and suspect that many must come from those who, unlike us, don’t know Andrew so well. Personally, I feel Andrew is much better served by having his response questioned. He is, first and foremost, responsible for what happened and is, as I see it, still a long way from letting in all that implies. Without this there will be no meaningful ‘going forward’.
Please let’s not throw stones at each other
Submitted by Sarah V (not verified) on Tue, 05/19/2015 – 12:05pm
Hey there, Tim. You probably don’t remember me. In the community I was one of those little worms under a rock that you were referring to. I know I lobbed a big one at Andrew on this site and believe it or not I did it out of compassion for the people who got hurt and also for Andrew. I believe that the most respectful thing I can do is to be truthful. I read your post very carefully and I believe you are writing it out of compassion and a sense of justice. Please let’s not throw stones at each other. I believe this forum is about getting all the views out there and I may not agree with all of it, but I am really appreciative of everything that has been posted.
Who is In the Level-Headed Majority?
Submitted by Blake Ludwig (not verified) on Wed, 05/20/2015 – 11:58am
Dear Tim, I certainly feel you have a right like everyone else to post your thoughts and feelings to Andrew. He has chosen to make this a very transparent forum, which I’m sure he knew would evoke responses across the board from all of his past students. You mention allowing space for a more level-headed majority to speak up and I wondered whom you would say that is? How would you decide? Is it less impassioned people, or ones who don’t go on about their psychological suffering at the hands of a teacher they entrusted their soul to? Just rational ones who agree all was good and lets discuss? I’ve been deeply touched by some of the previous posts here, particularly Silvia Pavani, Rick Taylor and Judy Fox – all of whom I would consider quite level headed ex-students – and yet they have strong critiques for Andrew to consider – just as I do and will likely email him in good time. If I’ve begun to learn one thing in the past 2 years in Andrew’s absence it is to begin to listen to and appreciate a multiplicity of views, and in each voice I often hear an aspect of the truth – not something I always wholeheartedly agree with perhaps, but a small piece of the puzzle and just as valid as my own experience. As a community with Andrew we were never really allowed to have dissenting views to Andrew’s, or to the majority, nor were we really allowed to critique the teachings or the structure. Perhaps in retrospect we could have allayed so much that’s been lost in the name of conformity.
Go with love
Submitted by Jesper (not verified) on Sun, 05/17/2015 – 5:15pm
Dear Andrew, There was a lot of “looking down” on Agape or love in EnlightenNext. The weak spot seams to be a weak spot but in another way because the teaching or you did not cope with love. If love has been the primary before evolution then I thing the picture would have been different. I still have to thank you for opening up to spirit, to show me the deeper dimension of my self and to show me what is possible when committed people come together. Thanks for that Andrew – from all my heart. Go with love
Submitted by Will Walker Biggs (not verified) on Sun, 05/17/2015 – 9:04pm
I feel both deep tender compassion for you and your students Andrew and a fiery compulsion to hold you accountable for the harm your narcissism has caused. It is time that so called spiritual leaders face the fire of accountability for their distortion of wisdom and enlightened understanding. I am pleased that you are taking steps to engage this process Andrew. Not many spiritual leaders would do what you are doing. Spiritual awareness in the hands of ambition and those with unresolved psychic issues has always been and will always be dangerous. What surprises me is how many people did not see your fairly basic unresolved and un-integrated aspects, and how these were playing out with your students and followers in the name of your partial and very limited perspective of evolution. Somehow, you made evolution sexy and immediately implicating to soul and culture, without fully understanding deeply and widely what evolution is nor being aware of the de-evolutionary tendencies you were inhabiting. But I suppose whatever perspective and embodiment of the evolutionary process we have, it is always limited. I sense you internalized a core belief of being special early on and carried this directly into your teachings, partly your doing as well as the doing of all those who projected their power upon you. You speak of being engulfed by your guru and enlightened awareness while you were teaching. Andrew, you are not that special. Anyone with some progress in their spiritual realization can sit on a stage and have the attention of many and have loving light descend upon them. Again you are not that special and this assumption you have comes from an outdated and narcissistic understanding of the guru school of enlightened understanding in general. Your awkwardness, avoidance of truly human contact, and need to protect yourself all these years is also an indication of your lack of deeply integrating and embodying your so called enlightened awareness. As you say yourself, you hid out in transcendence for many years. Welcome to humanity Andrew. Humanity, as I sense you are finding, is real, raw and very earthly. Your spiritual path can actually begin now. Allow your light to touch all that you have been terrified to touch, all that you have pushed away as not evolutionary. What has happened with you Andrew and your students is important food for us all to consume. Your experiment was brave, partial, and ultimately unsustainable. And now we all have the opportunity to really look how this happened and learn from it. I believe that some of the core tendencies and dynamics that led to this implosion are beyond you Andrew and this collective experiment. Spiritual dissociation and psychic fractures which do not allow a deeply whole integration of masculine and feminine essence are issues seeded deeply within the collective soul. We all struggle with these dynamics. And when deep unconscious anxiety lurks in the shadow of our ambitions, we can clearly see what can happen. What is clear is that the illusion of self proclaimed spiritual superheroes having something others don’t is cracking open. It’s about time. We still love you Andrew. But if you want to face everything and avoid nothing, step up, gather a council of loving and fierce elders around you to hold you, heal you, and initiate you into your next step of becoming human. Don’t think you can do this alone. You can’t.
Submitted by Wendy (not verified) on Mon, 05/18/2015 – 1:00am
Hi Andrew. When reading your heartfelt confession of sadness, regret and guilt, a saying I was acquainted with misted into my mind and I went looking for it in my little books. Along the way, I bumped into these words of wisdom which may help soothe your soul. “We can be as free of regret from failure by being restored to virtue as by never having sinned. A person who sees his faults and confesses them will be pure.” Atisa “To know our soul apart from our ego is the first step toward accomplishing the supreme deliverance.” Rabindranath Tagore “There is no weapon more powerful in achieving the truth than acceptance of oneself.” Svami Prajnandad And finally the saying which I’d half remembered and went looking for (- it’s in a book called “A Guide for the ______ Soul” edited by Susan Hayward.) “If you’re into guilt you’re playing God. The universe is created so it’s O.K. to make a mistake. If you feel guilty about what you have done, you’re saying it’s not O.K. to make mistakes.” Wishing you love and inner peace
Submitted by Frank Youakim (not verified) on Thu, 05/21/2015 – 12:24am
I think that feeling guilty, even though painful, is good and helpful because it tells us that we are doing something wrong. It is part of God’s design. It is only after we realize and correct the wrong, that guilt becomes useless and unhelpful, hence appropriate to give it up. Some people who cannot face their past may have to stay feeling guilty for life, otherwise if they give it up too prematurely, they will keep doing the same mistake again and again and make other people suffer. I have learned this great lesson from Andrew. I think it will be good for Andrew to reflect on his painful side and work out why it is painful. If he does not see the damage and its cause, he cannot heal it. We do not want to sooth his soul to the point where he keeps acting in such a way that he hurts others and no longer feels any consequences. This is like giving him a drug to make him feel good because feeling good is more important than being responsible. This is the sad life of drug addicts until they wake up. They just want to do what makes them feel good and don’t care about its effect on others, including their family and loved ones.
Submitted by Hannah (not verified) on Mon, 05/18/2015 – 8:02am
I am 15 years sober and still regularly attend AA meetings where ‘making amends’ means going directly to the person you have harmed and asking them ‘how exactly did I hurt you’. Then listening. Giving that person the opportunity to express just how that hurt looked to them and what affect that had on their life. Then asking what you can do to put it right. I used to come regularly to enlighten next and just listen. I felt humbled by the immense spirituality shared in the room and by Andrew. I bought his books. I used to tell my friends how Andrews teachings where so much bigger and worldly that what we learned in AA. But when I started reading about the troubles with Andrew I wasn’t surprised. Putting people in the position of ‘guru’ tips the balance between human beings and to call yourself a guru is arrogant. I often thought Andrew lacked humility and intuition when I heard him speak. It was just something I noticed, but it didn’t put me off. I don’t think anyone is perfect or above anyone else, we are just where we are at, at any given time. But this has taught me yet again, there are no gurus, listen to yourself and your own instincts. Humility and gentle kindness. Forgiveness. Concern for others. Intuition. Whatever feels right to you. I’ve gone back to making cups of tea for people at AA meetings. It was nice to come and hear something interesting but whilst the guru’s are bringing the house down with their ego, there’s still tea to be made. To thine own self be true.
Submitted by Julia Sati (not verified) on Mon, 05/18/2015 – 11:06am
Very recently I had the opportunity to receive a very heartfelt, sincere, and complete apology from Andrew, in-person. I can only speak for myself — my experience was that Andrew listened deeply and was completely present and available to me. In our conversation he was undefended, without self-pity, self-justification, or self-aggrandizement. I felt completely heard and understood, and was deeply touched in the way that we met in a clear and personal commitment to the truth, informed by a nuanced appreciation of human development and growth, and of our shared human frailty. I am grateful to Andrew who reached out without knowing at all how I would receive his expression of remorse and contrition. It is, as Ken Wilber has said, a great mystery why human beings develop and grow, and it’s clear that the process (especially adult development) is fraught with peril. For myself, I’m standing with the wisdom of that mystery, and standing to evolve it into more grace-filled forms by being part of communities of Integrally-informed practice that embrace and embody the ever-more complex trajectory of human being and becoming.
So happy you wrote this
Submitted by Cynthia (not verified) on Mon, 05/18/2015 – 4:08pm
Thank you Julia. You write beautifully about your experience with Andrew. I don’t know if you remember me but we used to make saitan together in the kitchen at Foxhollow! Hope you are well. Big hug, Cynthia.
Life be your guru
Submitted by Joop (not verified) on Mon, 05/18/2015 – 2:54pm
Thanks Andrew. I can still feel a tremendous gratefulness for your teaching. I wish for you that you can take life as your guru. Love from Joop
Submitted by Mick (not verified) on Mon, 05/18/2015 – 3:12pm
Hi Andrew, welcome back and thank you for your bravery in facing the past. We wish you the very best and look forward to what the future will bring.
An Open from a Former Long-term Student
Submitted by Steve Jackson (not verified) on Mon, 05/18/2015 – 3:26pm
Dear Andrew, I very much appreciate that you are willing to acknowledge your own shortcomings and how they brought about the collapse of the whole edifice, as you put it, that you had created. This is undoubtedly a very welcome expression of honesty. At the same time, my strongest sense on reading your message is, if I may say so, that there is far more for you to let in before you will be close to facing the enormity of what you have caused to happen. Is it not the fact that, as much as you were the instigator of so much that was new and wonderful and profound, you were the destroyer of it, too? In this light describing yourself as a ‘living paradox’ would seem to me to be a very magnanimous way of describing this condition. It would seem to me that until you let in the magnitude of this dichotomy which is you your intention to ‘make good on what you taught’ will flounder. To be honest, I find this statement a symptom of what is missing. How about, instead, putting your attention on all the harm you’ve done to others and making good on that first? It doesn’t need lofty spiritual terms like ‘agape’. Wouldn’t that be a first step towards expressing the love and care, respect and appreciation which so escaped you in the past? Love, Steve J (As this website is a public forum and therefore open to all voices, the writer of this response wishes to add that he spent 26 years as a loyal and devoted student right up to the time when Andrew left.)
Where are you and where are you going?
Submitted by Frank Youakim (not verified) on Tue, 05/19/2015 – 6:06am
Dear Andrew. I am writing to you because you say that now you are back, your sabbatical is complete and you are available to talk/connect with your ex-students who want to. I am one of your ex-students and I want to connect with you. I like to start by saying that I still call you ‘dear’ because I surrendered enough to allow you a place in my heart which is hard to remove, may be because over the ten years or so I was your student and friend, I learnt a lot from you experientially as well as intellectually, and also because I am not one of those who experienced the pain or damage that you (and others) say you inflicted on them to which you apologize, hence I was not traumatised enough to remove you from my heart. I have however moved away from your ‘movement’ a few years before it collapsed because I got to a point where I could not learn anymore unless I submit to something that I could not trust or understand. May be my good ‘sense of self’ (not my ego) was strong enough to guide me and stop me from submitting to what did not feel right in my gut. Now in hindsight, thank God, it seems that this inner voice was accurate and it was not merely my ego (even though its presence is not to be ignored). The change that happened in me though due to your teachings is still in me. It is still driving me in the same way that my father’s voice in my head is driving me, even though he passed away years ago. It tells me what is good and what is bad, what is right and what is wrong. It is telling me how to judge everything. I used to do my best to see everyone and everything exactly as you saw them. That is what I understood is the quality of a good and serious disciple/spiritual student – to surrender so totally to the guru that you start behaving like they do and the difference in belief disappears. I thought: “How else is one to rid oneself of one’s own ego?”. Thank God though, I did not surrender my soul, hence the reason I am not severely damaged. I wonder today though, how many of the judgements that are still in my head and are driving my thought and action, are accurate, reliable or helpful? I really don’t know. Some of these judgements are not only hurting me, but they are also hurting other people that I come across including my family and close friends. The biggest project in my life has been the project of deciphering these thoughts, beliefs and emotions while I am stuck to them (or they are stuck to me) so closely that it is hard to see them by having a perspective on them that is not your (my conditioned) perspective. So as you can imagine Andrew, your teachings, good and bad, not only affected your senior students, and the less senior students like me, but they also affected all the people we come into contact. You really have changed the culture but unfortunately to the worse as well as to the better. The damaging methodology we took over from you has been implemented by you (and us) within our hearts and minds so deeply, that now we are still damaging others without knowing it. This is so dangerous. We now believe this is what we want, we cannot see through it enough to distinguish between ours and yours. That’s why we act on them as if they are right. That’s what the voice in our head is telling us. That’s why we are still struggling with this division, confusion, guilt, shame and attempting to fight it within ourselves, on our own. Sometimes it feels like I am punching myself to stop doing the wrong thing or to punish myself for doing the wrong thing, or may be to get some relief for punching the bad guy. It is so sad and painful. You say you are back and ready to fix things as best you can. Have you fixed all the damaging methodology within yourself first? Otherwise if we talk to you now, we will simply get more of the same. Is that what you really want? If you have fixed yourself, then you should be in a position to tell us what you did and how you did it so that you can help us to do the same to ourselves. What have you learnt? Are you really able and ready to do that. If you are, then GREAT. Please publish these insights, the new do’s and don’ts that were inaccurate in your older teachings and what was wrong with them to help us see through them and to convince us to give them up, and tell us what to replace them with, the new teachings and why you believe them to be true and helpful. We can then try them and give you feedback. Otherwise, what kind of help are you talking about? I think you should do that Andrew before completing your sabbatical, even if it takes you a lifetime. The purpose of talking to your students Andrew should be not to help them as their teacher, but to find out from them what you need to find out for the purpose of helping yourself and more importantly to “listen” to them, really listen until they “feel heard”, then give them as much empathy as you are capable of giving as this is what is going to heal you and them. I hope and pray for God’s Love and Grace for you and all your students who also need it. After all, one of God’s names (according to Sufism and Islam, and I am sure all religions) is “Al Rahman” The Forgiver, The Compassionate and “Al Rahim” – The Forgiving One, The Merciful, meaning (I think) that He not only forgives us (wipes out the influence of our karma) if we are “sincere” in our desire to repent, no matter what we did, but also teaches us to forgive others if we want to evolve towards Him and be our real self. How else is healing possible? I am sorry if it hurts you Andrew to listen to me as if I am a teacher, I am still a student, I am not really teaching but I am trying to pass on as much of what I have learned since leaving you and connecting to my heart. If I am wrong, please feel free to tell me so, that would be most welcome and I am sure very helpful. With Love Frank
Submitted by Timothy Hilton (not verified) on Wed, 05/20/2015 – 10:06pm
Psalm 127: Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain who build it. Abstractions are like bubbles, they always pop. There isn’t a whole lot to figure out here. The humility and wisdom required to let go to “True Hierarchy” is so rare. What’s the point of blaming anyone for the communal distortions [illusions] that we all choose to engage in. Nisagadatte Majaraj said that “Pain wakes you up and pleasure put’s you to sleep. If you don’t want to experience pain, don’t go to sleep”. One might ask what the pleasure was here that put everyone to sleep? Possibly the illusion of getting something for nothing. Surrender without surrendering. Gaining power and wisdom without having to pay the authentic and ultimate price ……the end of separateness and service to the whole. There is a basic and usually false assumption that a Guru or Spiritual authority figure is actually in service to what is true and so that by surrendering to the Guru, you are in turn, surrendering to the Divine [True Hierarchy}. This is a seriously flawed assumption. and one that has been proved out to be a seriously flawed assumption [over centuries] again and again and again. So why do smart people get sucked into this seriously flawed assumption when they really should know better? Because the lesson has still not been learned. We still have blind spots, unresolved shadow. as does Andrew. Andrew is playing his part, along with me and you, in a karmic pattern that hopefully will resolve it’s self in the next hundred lives or so. [Please excuse my optimism}. Does it matter that Andrew resolves his shadow for us to resolve ours?. In Andrew’s letter there are many unresolved issues that all of us share in some way. We can point out the flaws and incongruities in the letter, but a better use of the letter may be to meditate on what is unresolved in the letter in relationship to our own lives. Andrew is in a process. Unwinding it all takes time. It may not be unwound in this lifetime. The same goes for us. The same goes for me.
Submitted by Ron (not verified) on Thu, 05/21/2015 – 8:54am
Thanks andrew for your openness. I am still grateful for what the teaching has brought to me. I am espescially interested in what you write about the feminine principle and the role it had in evolutionary enlightenment. The works of the Swedisch esoteric philosopher HT Laurency helped me to differentiate better on this subject.
Andrew is Perfectly Innocent
Submitted by Martin Gifford (not verified) on Thu, 05/21/2015 – 10:22am
Andrew, his critics, his defenders, and everybody else in the world are all perfectly innocent. So all the blaming and judging that’s cycling around is a complete waste of time and energy and it distracts us away from the real issues. Except in the case of psychopaths, the reason why we harm ourselves and each other is that we become distracted away from the innate happiness and goodwill of being. We become distracted because the world has brainwashed us into believing that reliable happiness is in objects, achievements, relationships, spiritual states, evolution, punishment, sex, power, money, or whatever. Yet, as Ramana Maharshi and many others have said, these things are all fleeting, so they are unreliable. Pursuing them works only if we simultaneously stay tuned in to the innate happiness of being. Therefore, the resolution of this Andrew-centred melodrama is to get everybody tuned into the innate happiness and goodwill of being. Apparently, Andrew was good at that back in the 80s, so he should just travel the world to get everyone tuned into being ASAP. No self-flagellation or introspection is required. The world is the problem, not individuals. If we were all born into a wise world, none of these pains and problems would have happened. Can it be any clearer than that?
Submitted by Spiritual Friend (not verified) on Fri, 05/22/2015 – 5:05am
Yes spot on, we are all perfectly innocent and are not to blame for all the mess we make. However from within that mess some people are full of good and compassion and wisdom and can truly help others to stay tuned in. And others think they can help people but can’t and can confuse and take them further away. If people don’t speak out about what happens to them in their pursuits with methods and teachers then we would have no way of knowing which way to turn. We need to know. I think the moderators are in fact censoring the more difficult posts.
Submitted by Jacqueline G (not verified) on Thu, 05/21/2015 – 6:42pm
Dear Andrew. I’d never been a close student and the results of 17 years in your teaching are largely positive and I am grateful for that, although there were some hard times. Hard times belong to the past. The assessment of teaching is now. I wish you the best. With deep love. Jacqueline
The most profound love
Submitted by Rohan Ravi (not verified) on Thu, 05/21/2015 – 7:52pm
Your students are crazy, you didnt have to step down. Anyone who is within a tradition and steps out will have an ego. Da Samraj had a gross ego, therefore he was a yogi, you have a subtle ego therefore you are a saint, Ken has a causal ego therefore he is a sage, and I have a nondual ego therefore I am a Siddha. I made friends today, I havent had a friend in 8 years. Talk about a long dark night.
Submitted by Stephen Kirby (not verified) on Fri, 05/22/2015 – 12:54pm
Friday, May 22, 2015 To all you commenters. Grow up. Quit laying your repressed emotional baggage off on Andrew, who was just laying off his emotional baggage when he committed his ‘gigantic’ blunder. You all need to get back to the point. Throughout human history, the subject of Enlightenment has been written about, discussed, and imaged countless millions of times. Also, throughout human history the point of focus for Enlightenment is that an individual must seek the answers outside his or her capacity/ability to utilize reason and logic reasonable and logically. The numerous and diverse methods other people have devised for an individual’s enlightenment come with some nuggets of universal truth, but also come with biases and misinterpretations which are much more likely to lead an individual into confusion than they are apt to lead to enlightenment. Besides, the diverse methods other people have devised for enlightenment come at a high cost in personal time and treasure. The worldwide failure of focusing on others for answers is evident. One need only be immersed in a day or two of current worldwide news events. It is clear to all but the head-in-the-sanders that humankind has not perpetuated Paradise on Earth. The insanity of applying the same paradigm over and over and yet having the same disappointing to disastrous results time and time again just does not seem to register with the worldwide population. En masse they lead quietly desperate lives scratching for survival, and hoping without real hope that ‘the next life’ will be better. Well, there is no ‘next life’. This life is the only life that you know is yours to live. The methods other people have devised, when accepted by an individual, initially removes ½ of the power and authority an individual possesses to utilize reason and logic reasonably and logically, and always leaves a residual shadow of doubt as a consequence. All that being said, it must be time for a paradigm shift. Over the millennia all the outside angles have been explored, leaving one avenue remaining. To look inside for the answers appears to be the answer. But then a question arises; How does an individual go about looking inside? That issue and ideas regarding your comments in the next blogpost, Stephen Kirby Conscience-ness Recovery and Retention Center firstname.lastname@example.org
Andrews 2nd letter
Submitted by Johanna Ciupek … (not verified) on Sat, 05/23/2015 – 1:52pm
Dear Andrew! I don´t know if you remember me, Johanna from Vienna/Austria. I never forgot you. When I heard you the first time in Vienna 1995, I knew for sure that I wouldn´t left your teaching till I get what I really wanted. I always wanted to be free more than anything else. So I went to every retreat you hold in these years. During all these hours in all these tents and all these halls, sitting in in the first row in front of you listening to your words, I got to understand that beeing free meant nothing else but beeing fully human. This is what I am. We met the last time in Rishikesh on your retreat in January 1998. It was my 6th consecutive retreat and I said goodbye to you there in India. My desire was fullfilled. I am now a fifty years old woman living together with husband and daughter, still in Vienna. And life is simple, perfect and full of love. You know that I never was your student and you never was my teacher. But I have received all of you what I needed. Thank you deeply for your letter, Andrew. Love ist the real thing. Always yours Johanna
what a beautiful letter
Submitted by Paul Cohen (not verified) on Tue, 05/26/2015 – 5:13pm
What a beautiful letter this is…….
Submitted by Patrik (not verified) on Tue, 05/26/2015 – 5:18pm
The secret of Agape or the horizontal innermost Heart and Soul
Submitted by Nicolas (not verified) on Tue, 05/26/2015 – 6:39pm
I am very glad that Andrew cohen wrote this open letter and that he is well. Now I would like to help him and all his hurted disciples to understand why exactly all of this happened as this seems to be an example of primary importance for the domain of spirituality. As Cohen says this is mainly because he focused on the Eros ascending consciousness while he neglected the horizontal love of Agape. Well this might happen to anyone even those grounded in some nondual like consciousness. Why? Because the innermost soul (psychic being or spark-soul), as an individual direct representative of the Transcendant must be unveiled and lead the dance, otherwise some part of the inner or outer ego-self is going to be magnified and become something like a Nietzchean super-enlightened ego, not a selfless Divine Person. This type of intermediate zone gurus are likely to become hurtful for themselves and others along the way, especially in the case of those having a place of strong influence and power like Cohen had. The opening of the Heart and the growing of the Soul is a precondition for reaching more gracefully and stabilising on higher levels of self-consciousness. And this part seems absent or superficially present in Cohen’s teaching or Wilber (mainstream) theory, unlike the integral yoga of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. This spark-soul is not rooted in the luminous Subtle neither dark formless Causal but is the pure witnessing self in direct relation to the uncreated Light and therefore eternal. The body-heart-mind outer material complex and inner evolving soul are but instruments of her. Now I wish Andrew (and his former students) the best for his inner healing, transformation and eventual return as a more truly integral spiritual teacher
REALISATION OF NO TEACHER OUSIDE OF ONE SELF !
Submitted by Space (not verified) on Fri, 05/29/2015 – 1:07pm
It is of a remarkable and almost non-comprehendable madness that this has all taken form and has come into existence and influenced so many people as they all clinged on to the words of one man to seek for enlightenment. I was a student… only for a short while. I sat in front of Andrew at his retreat only one time. The first days in the front, right in front and close to him, so that I could feel his presence and energie. As the days went by and the retreat came to a close, I noticed myself move farther and farther away from him. The last day I sat all the way in the back. Eventhough Andrew made good points and remarks during his talks I never considered him to be MY TEACHER. I honnestly do not understand why people choose to accept a person as there teacher? We are all equal. We are all ONE! Andrew is me and I am Andrew. There is no discussion about this. We learn constantly from everything around us. Any and all people whom have chosen to conform to experimental projects and let themselves be indoctrinated and rulled by a ‘master’ and guru teacher of any sort is in my opinion inevitably responsible for the consequences. I would NEVER allow a person to dominate me or dictate me in any way, especially if there is no opening for discussion and sharing of opinions in an equal and harmonic setting. It is this lacking of understanding and ignorance to follow one mans footsteps as if he is the answer to all suffering, that many within the evolutionairy enlightenment community that chose Andrew as their teacher has caused them to loose their ability to see purely and authentically in the first place. All former students that feel hurt and confused by what Andrew has caused, should follow the same path as Andrew and be quit and sit and discover their true potential and their OWN teacher. Nobody is or can ever be your teacher or guru. You must come to a divine understanding that Andrews gift is actually to express this and give back to us all that we must seek from within and teach our selfs what we see around us… be aware and intuitive and sharp. Be instictive and closely in touch with the simple truth that all creation holds within. Love. We are all responsible for our own path, the decisions we make to listen and be guided by another and the amount of belief we have in what we experience as beings. As soon as we become divided and start believing in what others tell us we become less powerfull and less authentic. Stop accusing anybody. Stop being victims! There was allways a choice. Please realise this is the madness that people consistently tune into. This blog and Andrew’s letter is no different than any other ego dispute between many of you that are hurt but take no responsibility for your own ignorence in being blinded all those years. Andrew, gave what he could and is learning like all of us humans, in oneness. His ‘ACT’ worked and influenced many. It gave some insight and was sparked creative processes by many. It had it’s impact. It was usefull… and unfortunately the weaker ones who got caught up in the whole ‘PLAY’ were hurt in the proces. It’s all just part of this whole evolutionary process! Now let go! I love you all.
Submitted by Matthew (not verified) on Sun, 05/31/2015 – 6:51am
Flew too close to the sun did you?
I met you twice Andrew & both
Submitted by Swasti Handa (not verified) on Sun, 05/31/2015 – 11:50am
I met you twice Andrew & both times my heart opened more & more. I couldn’t believe what I heard about you an year later. But am glad you are back. Back into this world to live, understand & clear your Karma. Isn’t it all about transcending it &’discovering who we are. So what you went through was just a part of that discovery & so was it for all your students & followers. Now it is time for you & all of us who feel the pain, hurt etc. to work at releasing all of it. Otherwise we all stay stuck in this vicious cycle of victim-victimiser. I love you with all my heart. May be am able to say this as I was not one of your Core Students. But I do pray for all of us to move beyond what keeps us in the rut… & love seems to be the only way to look at our egos. As in love we stand vulnerable & exposed to all.
The teachings were fundamentaly flawed
Submitted by Richard Cooper (not verified) on Sun, 05/31/2015 – 6:21pm
Ego (seperation) is the only thing that gives ego a hard time. The enlightened mind loves/recognises everything as itself. Reject the ego and you reject a part of yourself/myself. Result – no depth, confusion and conflict.
rest in “i am”
Submitted by advaita seeker (not verified) on Mon, 06/01/2015 – 10:59am
“come come whoever you are..you have broken your vows a thousand times and are still welcome..” rumi dear Andrew I invite you to consider the advaita question asked by sri ramana maharshi “who am I” forget the evolutionary story… forget your powers, siddhis and transmission, Shakti and kundalini what arises will arise… just rest in “I am” and all is coming
Submitted by Hiram (not verified) on Wed, 06/03/2015 – 10:15pm
Andrew, it is unnecessary for you to explain, justify or make excuses for any mistake whether real or imagined. One just accept responsibility and keep working. You don’t have to sympathize, but be effective. Just grant beingness and maintain communication.
Submitted by Bradan (not verified) on Fri, 06/05/2015 – 12:35pm
Dear Andrew, Welcome back. In the past few years I have spent time with local anthroposophy groups, an Episcopal Church, a couple of New Thought churches, a feminist commune and, most recently, a Zen center, with the result that I am more convinced than ever of the positive potential of your vision and your abilities, as well as those of the people who are guided to you. And regarding healing and forgiveness, what better circumstances to invoke and discover their true power than those you and I and so many of our spiritual companions find ourselves in? I would like to be in email contact with you, and I encourage us all to look forward towards a retreat. I think you might be ready now. Love, Bradan
Submitted by Christine Hodder (not verified) on Sat, 06/06/2015 – 5:52pm
With God’s Grace and ‘for the sake of the whole’ (your words) may healing continue for all of us. As our teachers have often said-the direct path to Enlightenment is not a joke.The ‘direct path’ can be dangerous to our mental health. Staying connected with the ancient lineage each path has evolved through, makes perfect sense. Over the years I begin to deeply recognize how ego attaches to all forms of delusion, attachment and suffering in order to feel Real. I also agree with Madame Blavatsky ” One single thought about the past that thou hast left behind will drag thee down and thou wilt have to start the climb again. Kill in thyself all memory of past experiences. Look not behind or thou art lost”. We are all responsible individually for our actions in life.Thank you for sharing your reflections. One day at a time….
Submitted by stan (not verified) on Tue, 06/09/2015 – 1:30am
Good to hear from you
WOW, HARD PLACE TO BE IN FOR ANDREW
Submitted by Geoff T (not verified) on Tue, 06/09/2015 – 7:58am
In the year 2000 and 2001, I did two retreats with Andrew Cohen and in the second, experienced the to this date strongest spiritual opening I have ever had; it was very beautiful. In fact additionally, after the first of such retreats, my mind opened in a way that was firey and scarey and which I pushed IT away in its uncomfortableness. A doorway had opened. All this was juxtaposed with a teacher who was on the intense side and even forgivably rude but still with his own magnetism. To his credit, to your credit, you, Andrew Cohen were the fascilitating teacher in these events. Since then, I have not really looked back nor really thought to work with you again. But I am remembering the general kindness and professionality of your helpers and something attractive, even loving in this intensity that you offered. And now this: I see a man now mostly without home, family or name. Burdened by the past. And I feel some sadness in this and empathy. And even empathy for this great adventure you had or believe you were having but which revealed itself to be flawed in part. And it was truly great in a way, ambitious, exciting, exhilerating no doubt in the power you held, and the breakthroughs which also happened. The way of the provocative Zen master is an attractive concept to embody, and no doubt was exhilirating. I myself have felt the sting from spending years in a Yoga movement which ultimately left me soured and in some ways limited my growth. In this way, I can empathize with your community. And I also believe that those years gave me a strength. Yes it was an odd dream and in certain ways it enforced my ego by filling my mind with certain things which ultimately did not resonate. But the Sadhana and the challenges have when the dust settled let me rise into something big and meaningful and ultimately I believe valuable for others. I also am seeing the anger in some of the comments and their dissection of your words, announcing in a way their dissatisfaction and criticism. I see in the case of them, that the roles of the past are changing and even to a degree, the perceived abused becoming the abuser. I see also, the yearning for connection in others through their comments. And I see the not easily resolved paradox of the unforgivable actions and hurts and the human need for peaceful resolution. I have read the list of things you did in your years and I guess much of it was true, be it the action of spiritual genius, misguided guru or a dark shadow. And even in your own words, there is a sense that this mad genius you offered, backfired and that people were hurt unnecessarily. You are still digesting it sounds like and wow, what a load: The loss of your name and your family and your power and your confidence and not only. You are coming to terms with the fact that some of your loved ones have now become enemies, those who refuse to see the goodness in what you were and who you are now. It must be hard. Or maybe it is liberating. And thrilling, this release of creative energy and of truth. But no doubt it is also painful and sad. And this feeling into the pain of others and that you are blamed, this indeed must be one of the hardest. And the loss or seeming loss, of all that had been created. It says on some page that you were hitting or beating others and even asking some of your students to do the same to others. How painful it must be to step back and see that this was simply and deeply incorrect and in most cases ultimatley abusive. How painful that must be to sit with that. That not only were you wrong but that you hurt others. I feel sadness and empathy there for you. And the other examples even if your intentions were positive. How a man transmutes that shame is beyond me. But I honor any man who attempts that and I believe that consciously and unconsciously many of your past students love that in you which seeks Truth and Greatness. In this way, for your very attempt to awaken beyond the pain, you can be admired. I believe also that beyond their anger and sadness and hurt is a desire, based in that same evolutionary impulse you believed in, to see you too rise again. It is a natural impulse. But the question remains: Will you repeat the same shadow actions or will something new be re-born? Something, from what I believe, based on my limited experience, is a great lover within you. In the partly historical story about the Bombay underworld, Sharanam, there is a scene in which a member of the slum is beating, from a drunken state, his wife so badly that the slum intervenes, forces him to drink himself practically to death, and beats him with a stick with the intention of ultimatley helping him. And then when this is over, they begin to care for him and nurse him. They also take his wife from him and force him through the threat of being expelled, to become responsible in his professional life, and then, only if she wants, will his wife return to him by her own accord. A complete reversal happens, and not only does this man meet his challenges and create a loving relationship with his wife but is invited to become the next chief of the slum, for his revealed wisdom. A reversal totally unexpected. Who are you without your good name? Who are we without the acceptance of our community and family? Behind the scenes, I believe that your ex-community is testing you as harshly as you tested them but with a hidden desire and yearning to see you evolve through this. Your shame may be useful for a little longer but it is secondary to your rebirth. That is where the juice is. One more thing Andrew: I would recommend seeking help and learning from the new cutting edge paradigms of compassion. Not because there is anything wrong with you necessarily but because there is an adventure out there, and ways of seeing life and development, and communities which are thrilling because of a fresh approach they offer. And the path to self-forgiveness. Don’t go about it alone. You don’t need to. Life is too thrilling for that. You will find something that makes sense to your sharp intellect and your aspiration to Love even more fully. Personally, I see a lot of humbleness in your letter and honesty. It may be more strategies or even in a way, clever ego stuff, but that really does not matter. I see it as a beautiful step. I admire the pickle you find yourself in. I mourn for you and the others who are entangled in the trauma of it all. And I pray that your soul will find its way to transmute all that has been so that you may serve life in an even more wise and loving way. Everything is possible Andrew. email@example.com
1. Tim Mansfield on June 12, 2015 at 5:17 am said:
Again, thank you for your open letter.
As you know, I have always felt that the cause of the Crash was an intervention by that which really moves the levers of Existence. The work of an authoritative structure was over and it was time to re-birth into a new shared paradigm where everyone has their own singular relationship to spirit and the grinding work of encouraging people to be true to themselves can happily be replaced by mutual joy in one another’s authentic self-expression. I am looking forward to what I term an Enlightened Association, a fluid union of individuals and groups which shares in a common ecstatic celebration of spirit and developmental pool of learning.
A cartoon view of the cause, as I see it, might show the fist of The Lord reaching from the clouds, crashing down on the Foxhollow Manor House, and a booming voice from on-High saying: ‘Actually, I’m The Boss’. Because I do think we were proud and elitist, (excusable because it was all so new), and we thought your Evolutionary Teachings were our special possession. And so some course-correction was due, on a scale commensurate with the context.
To me the whole matter of your character being strong on Eros, weak on Agape, is timely but not the main matter. The main matter is the birth of autonomy within our already very profoundly unified field and beneath the surface I see responses so far to your open letter as an interesting prelude to the future:
– Not so much beneath the surface are the 2,400 Likes (see link to previous blog posts) which are surely testament at least to widespread interest in you and your teachings and quite probably to substantial positive reception to your open letter. Whichever it is, these Likes create a positive backdrop and a sense of stability supplied by an impartial body.
– Outright negative responses from detractors were predictable, they were always going to have their own festival on your return. But there’s a growing sense that the energy available for being against something pales in comparison to the unalterable cosmically sourced push towards the future.
– More interesting is the silence from around two hundred of your former students, and what this might mean. In recent conversations with peers I have come across this hesitancy to stand with you, but also found the immediate willingness to engage in our favoured inquiry, ie engage together in the question of what all this means above and beyond personal opinion. This particular faculty, so hard-fought-for and dare-I-say highly developed, is right there, actively available 1mm beneath the silent surface. Consciously or unconsciously it’s there, ready to be activated by the right catalyst. So I see the silent two hundred as knowing too much to speak with rancour against you; even if some are in the grip of the Agape-is-missing perspective they also know at a profound level that the motives and achievements in our shared endeavour were good. There’s no one who could be singled out as a bad person by secular standards, who was able to live maliciously and undetected, and anyone who was truly involved with our pioneering work knows it would damage their soul to speak against the truth of this. Hence the significant silence.
Furthermore: What I have found most interesting since you posted your letter is how quickly it has led to the revelation of common responsibility and profound challenge at a species level. This has happened in conversations with peers, as mentioned above, and to me the resulting emerging view explains a lot of what is going on. The sequence was as follows:
Firstly the question arose: If you are being asked to give up the position of guru and engage in the rigours of doing that, are other people willing to engage in a similar level of rigour to create a new paradigm? If Mohammed is being asked to come down from the mountain, is he just going to find mountain-worshipping villagers at the bottom? Or villagers turned atheists? People who still want someone else to do the work, to be perfect, to depend on, to look to, to scrutinise and criticise? Or are some going to be willing to take risk and endure crunching osteopathic adjustment to meet you as equally autonomous in spirit while fully acknowledging difference in attainment? There is currently so much hand-washing and fence-sitting going on, so many backs being turned, such hesitancy to share the load and such propensity to simply settle for secular comfort. We were all contributors and beneficiaries within our guru-student structure, so there’s a common responsibility to co-create the next phase beyond that.
Secondly, the blind and heartless madness in the repeated instruction to you to ‘let go of everything’ came under more intelligent scrutiny. Fair enough to see we are moving beyond our previous authoritative structure and the previous expression of your role has probably run its course, but the shallow and gleeful manner in which these demands have been thrown at you betray both superficial engagement with the instruction itself and an absolute absence of awareness. For starters, this has never been done before, the conscious dismantling of such a powerful position and the simultaneous birth of a new association that could disseminate and thereby magnify your transmission of spirit into our world. But more immediately, it simply lacks insight and practical understanding to demand that someone gives up who they are; your teachings, your work, your vision are You, that comes through so strongly in your letter, and it simply is not right or sensible to ask someone to give up their self nature.
Lastly what arose into view is how this situation between us is a representation of our current relationship, as a species, to Power. People do not let go of power easily, that seems to be true in business, politics, football, relationships, wherever; and consequently there’s deep and maybe unconscious doubt about your willingness to do it. Last week I was sitting in a park in London, four of us, and my great friend said ‘the question is, does Andrew want to resume … or rebirth?’ Your letter ends with a commitment to the latter and I want to say that I believe you and want to play my part as best I can. With Love, Tim
2. Brian on June 12, 2015 at 6:51 pm said:
Hi Andrew, I see that you are still a legend in your own mind… emphasis on mind. One does not have to ‘read between the lines’ to see that there is still a gigantic ego at work here. Ad nauseam repetition of all the wonderful things you have accomplished, in spite of the horror you predicated upon your hapless students. I, personally, had a couple of ‘run-ins’ with you over the years. I am just so thankful that I did not get drawn in by your ego-charisma… and that’s exactly what it is: egoic charisma. Other commenters have done an admirable job of pointing out the errors of ego that are so obvious in your open letter, so I won’t bother going there. What I would like to say, however – and I would say this to anyone who is still stuck firmly in egoic consciousness – take another two years (or longer if necessary) to humble yourself and submit yourself to a trusted, senior teacher as a STUDENT. OMG, is that actually possible for you Andrew? That would be the true humility that your former students need to see as a very real contrition. As other commenters have stated, you need to drop everything, Andrew, and especially this guru/world savior identity. Please go humbly to someone like Thich Nhat Hahn, or Adyashanti. Let go of the whole ‘evolutionary enlightenment’ thing, and all your other grandiose ideas of what you ‘think’ enlightenment is. This way you might actually get yourself truly awakened…. hint: it’s not about evolving the world, the world will evolve just fine without your input. It’s about letting go of all identities and roles. And that’s just the beginning. I truly hope you can hear some of the constructive criticism by various commenters here, and not just focus on the inevitable, sycophantic accolades. Your ‘soul’, as you call it, depends on it.
3. Post sabbatical letter. on June 12, 2015 at 10:43 pm said:
Thank you for your letter Andrew.
4. G.Kukananthan on June 13, 2015 at 3:15 pm said:
I attended your programme in France some 10 years ago. You required all of us to observe silence, and only speak during your talks . I experienced facing a deep sense of fear of dying that pervaded me for about a week when I came back to KL. I remember thinking why you were so diamond like brilliant, yet so impervious to understanding your participants. It was absolutely a ego killing agenda that seemed to be your drive.
Most of us were facing living death within ourselves. One lady sent me a hand written note to inquire how I could retain a smile in this atmosphere when we all felt like we had come to the gallows instead of a course for enlightenment. I spent many weeks telling myself that all our fear experiences , and mine, of facing death ,was because your teaching was so absolute that our egos were being threatened with complete transparency of your absolute state . I still tried to listen to the 2 sets of evolutionary enlightenment CDs to enliven your teaching on coming back.
Yet the disdain for ego in your CDs seem to come in the way. Only after listening to Ken Wilbers’ integral teachings I could see how you were missing the right understanding of the place of ego, and that you driving it into into the shadow in yourself and your followers. Instead of transcending and including, you were excluding and driving it into a blindspot in yourself and others. I think more then any Guru, you have seen the ultimate in creating a shadow self. Your mother was right about you as much as she was resistant to your pure spiritual teaching . I am hoping you integrate yourself to the next level and come forward anew.
5. Mattias O on June 13, 2015 at 4:50 pm said:
I must question your motives in writing this post. My sense is that you are staging your own comeback, disguised as another apology. You use this post to simultaneously praise your own achievements and justify your actions, which does not have a place in a true apology. You rewrite history by taking credit for the first apology, which in fact you were forced to send out by the people who were still at Foxhollow trying to help you. You are condescending to women by insinuating that they are an evolutionarily especially challanged group who need extra patience (which you did not give them, otherwise your methods would have worked, right?). Speaking on people leaving, you are also insinuating that they did so because they were weak (“in some cases the challenge was just too much”). If I interpret you correctly, you also defer responsibility for the Collapse as something inevitable, which again undermines your attempt at apologizing (“I often wonder how much of the outrageous evolutionary Fire could have awakened…without there being some kind of fall out”).
It will probably not be so difficult for you to “sprinkle some agape” on top of your old teaching and get a new following of people who never got close enough to experience your lack of integrity first hand. To do so without having come to resolution with the hundreds of close students over the years that gave you their hearts, sacrificed their family and professional lives and gave you the benefit of the doubt to extreme proportions, would be a mockery and a proof that this is not really an apology but a public stunt. It would be sending a message that these people (myself included) are drop-outs, when the real reason is that the embodiment of the teaching (the community of students) was corrupt and you caused the collapse yourself. From what I can tell, a majority of your former close students would not vouch for your integrity at this point in time. You have not made enough effort to reach out either, which makes me wonder how much you really care about the relationships that you broke.
You state that you believe that “the teaching is basically sound” and “coherent”. You admit at least intellectually your flaws, which you should have kudos for (even better if your heart had spoken). You admit that you saw people as “a means to an end” and “lost sight of their humanity”. This insight is of such a magnitude that all the five tenets need to be re-examined. It is therefore more than reasonable for you to question the integrity and coherence of your teaching, which you obviously don’t. Here are some hints:
1) The second tenant (“everything is volitional”) has an absolute quality. How is that possible if you admit that people are humans, presumably with human flaws? And is this coherent with an evolutionary worldview? And by the way, you are not proving this tenant yourself either since you seem generally perplexed at how/why the Collapse came about.
2) The fourth tenant (“everything is impersonal/process perspective”) and the fifth tenant (“care for the whole”): what do these mean from your new insight of seeing people as humans rather than evolutionary conduits.
3) The lack of humanity described above was embedded in the structure of the community of students. For example, you gave impunity to some people in the leadership (which I’ve commented about at one of Terry Patten’s dialogue and at the WhatNext Facebook group), and you dumped others, in order to preserve your position of authority. Since the structure was intimately informed by the teaching and vice versa, both need to be examined concurrently.
I would suggest you just drop it all. Drop your defiance and need to prove yourself. Drop your ambition and lust for recognition. Trust that that which is True will not be lost. There are other less glorious ways you could prove that “gurus can change”, than getting back in the old seat on the podium. I can understand that the teaching, your life’s work, is the buoy that you won’t let go of, but right now, you are actually making a mockery of it since you are not living it yourself.
If you can allow your heart to open and allow it to cry, perhaps you would find that you can reach people that you cannot reach now and that you have more true friends than you thought. At this point you should seek out people who express the deepest humanity, not who praise you the most.
Love, Mattias O
6. firstname.lastname@example.org (Rolien Prins) on June 13, 2015 at 9:39 pm said:
Dear Andrew, two years ago I heard of your retirement and I wanted to call you right away, because I felt sorry for you. When I told my teacher about you, he looked into it and said: ‘he never died’. He didn’t think you would like to come to him, but he said ‘that you were welcome if you wanted’. After that I let it rest. The past 23 years I was ‘busy dying’ myself and there were times that I regretted that I had started all this, but at the same time knowing that I didn’t want anything else. Only lately ”ít’ is sinking in a bit.
Just accidential I looked on the internet tonight and felt I had to respond. With love, Rolien
DID NOT GET POSTED:
Dear Andrew, I’m just wondering what the point of all of this is. A number of us – actually the supposed audience of your message – have already grappled with this whole issue exhaustively. Not just individually – dealing with the aftermath of our confusion and spiritual devastation from leaving our ‘one perfect master’, but also dynamically, catharitcally and wholesomely …as a group. In fact as a wise, compassionate, complex, funny, intelligent and strangely forgiving …. group. You’d likely get some seriously relaxed wisdom – if you were open – from any one of a hundred or so of your previous close students.
I really don’t understand this blog. How is it serving you? The people who know you the best – well you know how to contact them. And the others…..the ones who wouldn’t get close enough to ‘your fire’ – the ones you used to have no respect for…………?
Who is the audience for all of this? What do you really want? Do you want to truly understand what happened around you. That crazy, powerful and sometimes transformative time? Are you willing and well…able….to face how much cruelty was inflicted. How many good and idealistic fires were quenched? Are you willing – simply – to stand on the same ground as the people you lorded it over. One thing I can credit you with…….you knew how to dethrone the ego – can you have enough humility to stand on no ground as you demanded of all of your students?
Anyhow……again, I doubt this will be posted. And again, no-body is trying to pull you down. You actually did that for yourself…… a number of us hope you don’t rebrand yourself as the new and more humble Andrew. I mean….I know as so many of us do…that it takes a mighty hammer to crack a tough nut. I just really hope that you use this time to disassemble rather than to reassemble. Another thing I credit you with is that you recognised good people. Many of them I imagine can help you now – especially the ones you had the major fallings out with. I hope you seek them out and sincerely listen to them. Love Lisa